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The Food & Drug Administration is about to make both sides unhappy with its ruling on a long-running dispute over genetically engineered food. The industry has argued that the results of gene-splicing are much the same as conventional cross-breeding, and that the new-style plants usually require no special treatment. Opponents argue that the altered products should be reviewed for safety before reaching market and carry special labels. FDA's split-the-baby solution: It will ask biotech companies to keep the agency abreast of new products, some of which may be subject to review. But the FDA will reject a call for special labeling. Instead, it will require warnings only where the product poses a special hazard, as with a tomato containing a peanut gene that could cause reactions in people allergic to peanuts.EDITED BY STEPHEN H. WILDSTROM


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