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Leading experts address safety and economics of biotech crops

CHICAGO In the seven years since the first genetically modified food product, the Flavr Savr tomato, was approved for sale in this country, agricultural biotechnology has been a catalyst for both public debate and research. A special three-day symposium, "Agricultural Biotechnology," with sessions on food, feed and environmental safety assessment, analytical methodologies, and benefits, is on the agenda August 27-29 in Chicago during the week-long 222nd national meeting of the American Chemical Society, the worlds largest scientific society.

Scheduled papers include:

Detecting biotech grain Steven Tanner of the USDAs Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration in Kansas City, Mo., will describe guidelines and procedures for sampling, testing and detecting biotech grains. His agency is responsible for establishing the official U.S. standards that buyers and sellers use to evaluate grain quality and type. (AGFD 54, 2:05 p.m., Monday, August 27, McCormick Place South, Room S505A, Level 5.)

Biotechnologys contribution to global food security C. S. Prakash, Ph.D., of Tuskegee University in Alabama, believes transgenic crops can improve agricultural productivity, minimize the use of pesticides and fertilizers, protect against diseases, pests, drought and spoilage, and improve food quality and nutrition. But, Prakash notes, "The integration of biotechnology into agricultural research in the developing world is fraught with many hurdles that must be addressed." One of the first things that must be done, he says, is to develop adequate biosafety regulations for development, testing and release of new crops. (AGFD 99, 8:40 a.m., Tuesday, August 28, McCormick Place South, Room S505A, Level 5.)

Improving wheat Ann Blechl, Ph.D., of the U.S. Department of Agricultures Agricultural Research Service, Western Regional Research Center in Albany, Calif., is working to improve
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