To the editor:
Henry Miller is correct in stating that agricultural biotechnology is delivering important benefits to the world's consumers and farmers (Nat. Biotechnol. 17, 113, 1999). However, he ignores legitimate public interest and community needs when he argues that health, safety and environmental regulations are a "gratuitous" entry barrier in the biotechnology industry. Prudent regulations protect the public, secure public confidence in the food supply, and are a necessary cost of doing business. One only needs to look to Europe, as Miller has in previous columns, to observe the devastating effect on consumers caused by the erosion of trust in food safety regulators.
In the coming years, many companies will offer numerous beneficial biotechnology products both here and abroad. The regulatory reviews that these products will receive will give consumers confidence that these products of this new technology are safe as any foods we eat.