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<div class="quote-block">Federal officials say they are concerned that pigs that were supposed to be destroyed after a genetic engineering study may have entered the nation's food supply, but said they did not believe they posed a health risk.<br><br><br><br>
The Food and Drug Administration is investigating whether scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign violated regulations requiring them to destroy all pigs involved in the research.<br><br><br><br>
The university may have sent 386 of the animals to a livestock dealer who in turn may have sent them to slaughter, the FDA said Wednesday.<br><br><br><br>
"We do not believe that there is a public health risk," said FDA Deputy Commissioner Lester Crawford. The research involved increasing pigs' natural levels of some growth proteins present in meat anyway, Crawford said.<br><br><br><br>
None of the pigs originally genetically manipulated was sold, but rather it was their offspring, which the university said passed multiple tests verifying the piglets hadn't inherited changed genes.<br><br><br><br>
The FDA is trying to verify the genes were not inherited.<br><br><br><br>
While playing down concern about food safety, the FDA characterized the problem as a serious one of scientists possibly breaking rules necessary to ensure that bioengineering research is done properly. If the agency determines those rules were indeed broken, it could impose fines or suspend other university research.<br><br><br><br>
The University of Illinois called the FDA's investigation a surprise to researchers who thought they were following federal rules and had openly discussed how they tested and sold the pigs.<br></div>
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