They are challenging the biopharming industry's claim that rice is a self-contained crop, for instance, citing studies done in Canada and Europe that show a high degree of interbreeding between rice varieties.
Experts like Bill Freese of FOE and Michael Hanson of the Consumers Union question whether biopharming can produce as promised.
The other five are for Hawaii, the state with the most biopharming and transgenic seed production.
In addition, biopharming offers tremendous flexibility and economy when adjustments in production are necessary.
Some of the demands of the Grocery Manufacturers of America and other food trade associations were reasonable, but not their recommendations to the FDA that food plants should be off limits for biopharming "unless the company developing the drug product clearly demonstrates that it is not feasible to use non-food crops" and that "land, labor and equipment [be] dedicated solely to growing" biopharmed products.
If regulation and other aspects of public policy don't unnecessarily inflate the costs of development, biopharming can revolutionize the pricing structure of many new drugs.
All this spells bad news for biopharming: In March 2003, the U.S.
Biopharming represents the new frontier of biotechnology, where agribusiness meets the pharmaceutical industry to explore a once unimaginable prospect: manipulating the genetic code of plants to induce them to generate AIDS vaccines, blood-clotting agents, digestive enzymes and industrial adhesives.
Biopharming pushes the limits of genetic engineering to a new plateau, where scientists re-engineer crops to produce drugs that can be extracted from kernels and beans far more cheaply than they can be produced in factories.
Though biopharming is still in the experimental stage, the experiment has already seen twenty corporations and universities conduct more than 315 open-air field trials in undisclosed locations.
Like plant biotechnology, the development of biopharming requires productive public/private partnerships.
"A strong motivation for support of biopharming is the prospect for economic development, but that goal has to stand up to other challenges.