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NY Post 

US regulators have approved a genetically modified pig for food and medical products, making it the second such animal to get the green light for human consumption. But the company behind it says there are no imminent plans to sell it for meat.

The pig is genetically engineered to eliminate the presence of alpha-gal, a type of sugar found in many mammals. The sugar makes its way into many products — including medications, cosmetics and food — and can cause allergic reactions in some people. 

The main goal of the company behind the pig, United Therapeutics Corp., is to develop medical products, such as blood thinners, that won’t set off such reactions, said its spokesman Dewey Steadman. Eventually, the Silver Spring, Maryland-based firm hopes to develop a way for the pig’s organs to be transplanted into people. 

The FDA said it didn’t evaluate allergy-specific food safety, since the company’s application didn’t include data on the preventing such reactions. 

Greg Jaffe of the Center for Science in the Public Interest said the FDA’s approval of the GalSafe pig announced Monday is also concerning because it came without a chance for public comment. 

“Nobody was given notice and all of a sudden there’s an approved animal,” he said. 

The company didn’t disclose exactly how it altered the animal’s DNA. Jaffe said the pig was produced by knocking out a gene responsible for producing the sugar and adding another that serves as a marker for the silenced gene. 

Jaffe said he’s not aware of any rules on how pork from genetically modified pigs would need to be labeled to be sold in supermarkets. 

Long term, he said the goal is to combine the genetic modification with multiple other changes to make their organs acceptable for transplants in people. For years, researchers have been looking into the idea of transplanting pig organs as a way of eliminating shortages of donated organs.

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