Federal regulators should look more closely at the potential health effects of some genetically modified plants before they can be grown as commercial crops, a scientific advisory panel said Tuesday.

It also said regulators should check for potential food safety problems after people eat the products.

The report by a committee of the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine said regulators should target tighter scrutiny at genetically engineered varieties that have greater levels of biological differences from current plants.

The analyses also should look more closely at conventionally developed plants if there are indications that naturally occurring chemicals in the conventional plants could have unintended health effects, the report said.

Some chemicals in plants can create allergic reactions or otherwise make some people sick. To prevent such problems, the study recommended a case-by-case approach to the applications based on compounds in conventional as well as biotech plants, rather than the current focus on biotech varieties. The report said, however, that biotech plants would probably have greater risk.

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