Get involved in the discussion: SIVB responds to AMS request for Comments on Proposed Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard

Many members may not be aware of the activities of the public policy committee and how they are making the voice of the SIVB heard.  Often there are calls for comments on various governmental regulations that directly impact our members.  Last year the committee submitted comments on the proposed USDA changes to GM regulation policy where we supported scientific efforts to improve regulatory efforts and opposed changes that were not based on sound science.  At the St. Louis meeting the committee addressed the comments on the proposed bioengineered food disclosure standard.  The standard is being developed in response to the federal law that pre-empted a diversity of state labeling laws.  Members were instrumental in helping to design the statute and were further active in our response – especially where the standards were falling outside the specification of the statute.  Our response – and the response of other scientific organizations – is critical for regulatory agencies to have solid, scientific understanding of the implications, costs and potential pitfalls of any labeling regimes.  Our response can be found at:  https://www.regulations.gov/docketBrowser?rpp=25&po=0&s=SIVB&dct=PS&D=AMS-TM-17-0050&refD=AMS-TM-17-0050-0004.  Over 14,000 comments were submitted.  Most of these comments were not scientifically based.  It is critical that societies such as ours emphasize the importance of science in this discussion. The society’s views are summarized as follows

  1. Detectable levels of DNA for required labels must be based on reasonable, robust, scientifically sound detection methods
  2. Proper scientifically accurate wording on accepted breeding techniques that should be considered excluded from labeling laws
  3. Found in nature and/or patentability is not a proper standard for label consideration
  4. Labels should be based on what is actually present and detectable at reasonable levels and not based on other factors
  5. Required disclosure symbols should be neutral in nature and neither gives a positive nor negative value judgment impression.

We encourage individual members to also take advantage of comment periods for relevant rules and to communicate with the public policy committee and join the committee!  We encourage our members to engage in public discussion and public debate.  Help us to keep conversations science based and to join in public education initiatives

Submitted by Alan Wenck




Dr. Arthur Balin, MD, Ph.D., was awarded the Distinguished Achievement Award from the American Aging Association at the 47th Annual Meeting of the American Aging Association on June 30, 2018.  Dr. Balin is also a past recipient of the Tissue Culture Association Wilton R. Earle Award for best student paper at the 1975 annual Tissue Culture Association Meeting.

Tom Flynn retired from the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition on April 30th following thirty-eight years of federal service. Tom’s primary education was in the fields of chemistry and biochemistry, but he learned mammalian cell culture at the FDA under the tutelage of SIVB Lifetime Achievement Award winner June Bradlaw. Tom’s work at FDA focused on the evaluation of in vitro assays as adjuncts or alternatives to product safety testing in animals. Tom’s work on two projects, one as lead author and one as collaborator, was published in June 2018:

Flynn TJ and Vohra SN. Simultaneous determination of intestinal permeability and potential drug interactions of complex mixtures using Caco-2 cells and high-resolution mass spectrometry: Studies with Rauwolfia serpentina extract. Chemico-Biological Interactions, 290: 37-43, 2018 (available at the publisher’s website: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cbi.2018.05.006);

Mossoba MM, Vohra S, Toomer H, Pugh-Bishop S, Keltner Z, Topping V, Black T, Olejnik N, Depina A, Belgrave K, Sprando J, Flynn TJ, Wiesenfeld PL, and Sprando RL. Diglycolic acid induces HepG2/C3A liver cell toxicity in vitro. Toxicology In Vitro, 52: 87-93, 2018 (available at the publisher’s website: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tiv.2018.06.006).