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Agricultural News

BIO Applauds Introduction of the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act

Wed, 09 Apr 2014 15:46:23 CDT

BIO Applauds Introduction of the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act
The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), applauded today's introduction of the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, which would establish a federal standard for the safety and labeling of food and beverage products made with genetically modified ingredients (GMOs).

"We understand the public has questions about the safety of biotech foods, and that's why we launched GMO Answers last year. We are committed to answering those questions in an open and transparent manner," said Cathy Enright, BIO's Executive Vice President for Food and Agriculture. "We also endorse the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act as a federal GMO labeling solution that helps to address consumers' questions about GMO safety and provides them with tools necessary to make informed decisions."

Sponsored by Representatives Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) and G. K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), the bipartisan Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act strengthens the role of the nation's primary food safety authority, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to:

-- Advance Food Safety: Require the FDA to conduct a safety review of all new GMO traits before they are introduced into commerce. FDA will be empowered to mandate the labeling of GMO food ingredients if the agency determines there is a health, safety or nutrition issue with an ingredient derived from a GMO.

-- Eliminate Confusion: Remove the confusion and uncertainty of a 50 state patchwork of GMO safety and labeling laws and affirm the FDA as the nation's authority for the use and labeling of genetically modified food ingredients.

-- Inform Consumers: The FDA will establish federal standards for companies that want to voluntarily label their product for the absence-of or presence-of GMO food ingredients so that consumers clearly understand their choices in the marketplace.

-- Provide Consistency: The FDA will define the term "natural" for its use on food and beverage products so that food and beverage companies and consumers have a consistent legal framework that will guide food labels and inform consumer choice.

BIO supports the legislation as an opportunity to reinforce our commitment to advancing transparency and food safety. "We support making the FDA safety consultation process mandatory and making scientific studies and evidence of safety publically accessible to anyone who wants additional information," says Enright. "Moreover, BIO supports statutory language for explicit FDA authority to require a label on any GMO food ingredients that raises a safety or health issue."

BIO believes that one of the cornerstones of effective food policy is bolstering consumer confidence. "The aim of our GMO Answers program is to create a public conversation about GMOs and to provide the answers people are seeking," said Enright.

"Similarly, this bill seeks to build public confidence by providing a federal policy solution that eliminates confusion, provides consistency in food labeling regarding GMOs, while keeping food costs affordable."

BIO applauds Representatives Pompeo and Butterfield, and all of the bill's original cosponsors: Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Jim Matheson (D-Utah), and Ed Whitfield (R-Ken.)

"These leaders understand that GMO labeling is a national issue that deserves a national solution," said Enright. "We urge other members of Congress to support the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act and look forward to working to move this bill in the 113th Congress."



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