NGFA Joins Broad-Based National Coalition Advocating Federal GMO Labeling Solution
Date Posted: February 6, 2014
The organizations are urging Congress to quickly seek a federal solution to establish standards governing the safety and labeling of human and animal food and beverage products made with genetically modified ingredients.
"The NGFA believes strongly that it is in the best interests of all stakeholders - including consumers - to arrive at a federal solution to labeling of products containing ingredients derived from modern agricultural biotechnology," said NGFA President Randy Gordon.
"It is essential that such a framework remains both safety- and science-based, and continues to fully protect consumers," Gordon added.
"What will not work is a state-by-state patchwork of different laws and requirements that would devastate the efficiency our nation's food and animal feed production and marketing system, and dramatically increase costs to consumers."
The broad coalition stated in a media conference call earlier today that such a federal GMO labeling solution would:
• Further Ensure Food Safety: The federal solution sought by the coalition would make mandatory the current consultation that biotechnology providers voluntarily enter into with FDA to ensure that GMO traits are safe before they are introduced into commerce. While all biotechnology providers commit to engaging in such consultations currently, the coalition is seeking to enshrine this commitment in federal law. FDA also would be empowered to mandate the labeling of GMO food ingredients if the agency determines there is a health, safety or nutrition issue with GMO technology.
• Eliminate Confusion: Such an approach would remove the confusion and uncertainty of a 50-state patchwork of GMO safety and labeling laws, and recognize that FDA is the nation's preeminent authority concerning the use and labeling of genetically modified food and feed ingredients.
• Inform Consumers: The approach sought by the coalition would require FDA to establish federal standards for companies that want to voluntarily label their product for the absence or presence of GMO ingredients so that consumers are able to understand clearly their choices in the marketplace.
• Provide Consistency: Under the approach being sought, FDA would define the term "natural" for its use in labeling on human food and beverage products so that these companies and consumers have a consistent legal framework that will guide food labels and inform consumer choice.
"NGFA policy strongly supports agricultural biotechnology and other scientific and technological innovations that contribute to production efficiency and the availability of a safe, abundant and high-quality food and feed supply for U.S. and world consumers," Gordon said.
He noted that such continued innovation will be "absolutely essential" to meet the 70 percent increase in production of grain-based foods, animal-based proteins and other foods projected to be required to feed a global population that is projected to increase from 7 billion to 9 billion by 2050.
"A federal GMO labeling solution will help provide a framework for the continued safe and effective use of technology that is essential to the future of our planet," the NGFA said.
Facts About GMOs (www.FactsAboutGMOs.org)
• Many of the most influential regulatory agencies and organizations that study the safety of the food supply, including FDA, the American Medical Association, the World Health Organization, Health Canada, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Academy of Sciences, have determined that genetically modified food ingredients (GMOs) are safe and there are no negative health effects associated with their use.
• GM technology is not new. In fact, it has been around for the past 20 years, and today, 70 to 80 percent of the foods consumed in the United States, both at home and away from home, contain ingredients that have been genetically modified.
• Ingredients grown using agricultural biotechnology require fewer pesticides, less water and keep production costs down. In fact, plant biotechnology helps reduce the price of crops used for food, such as corn, soybeans and sugar beets, by as much as 15 to 30 percent.
For further information, please visit www.CoalitionForSafeAffordableFood.org.