Key Farm and Ag Groups Praise USDA's Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard Labeling RuleThu, 20 Dec 2018 12:48:59 CST
Key agricultural and farm groups today praised the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) public release of the final rule implementing the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard.
Designed to inform consumers about the presence of bioengineered genetic material in their food for marketing purposes, USDA’s disclosure standard stands firmly with science in that it validates the fact that there is no health, safety or nutritional difference between bioengineered crops and comparable conventional or organic crops. This is a position held by nearly every major national and international scientific and health organization, including the American Medical Association, the National Academy of Sciences, and the World Health Organization.
Importantly, the final rule only requires a disclosure when products contain bioengineered genetic material and not when some ingredients, such as oils, starches, and sugars, are made from crops which may be bioengineered. The use of bioengineered crops does not cause a difference in these ingredients and it would be misleading to consumers to suggest otherwise. Several other countries, including Australia, Brazil and Japan also do not require mandatory labeling of foods made with these products when they do not contain bioengineered substance.
“This rule is a victory for consumers who desire transparency and for the entire food value chain, from the farmer to food manufacturers. It provides clarity to the marketplace and allows consumers to make informed decisions on the issues that are important to them,” said Zippy Duvall, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation.
“America’s corn farmers need a consistent, transparent system to provide consumers with information without stigmatizing important, safe technology. Thus, we are pleased with the issuance of these rules and look forward to reviewing the details in the coming days,” said NCGA President Lynn Chrisp, a farmer from Nebraska.“NCGA came together with stakeholders from across the value chain to support enactment of the Bioengineered Food Disclosure Act, because it prevented a state-by-state patchwork of labeling laws, that would have cost U.S. consumers, farmers and manufacturers billions of dollars. We are hopeful that this rule will be a major step in achieving our important, shared goals.”
“Soybean farmers are pleased that USDA took the time to do this rule the right way. We believe that it allows transparency for consumers while following the intent of Congress that only food that contains modified genetic material be required to be labeled bioengineered under the law, with food companies having the option of providing additional information if they choose,” said Davie Stephens, soy grower from Kentucky and president of the American Soybean Association.
“America’s sugarbeet farmers commend USDA for thoughtfully crafting a final rule that provides transparency to consumers and clarity to farmers and food manufacturers. Furthermore, this rule does not impose misleading labeling requirements and recognizes that there are no differences between oils, starches, and sugars made from bioengineered or conventional crops,” said Richard Gerstenberger of Snover, Michigan, president of the American Sugarbeet Growers Association.
“We support the USDA in following the plain language of the law by requiring disclosure when foods contain genetic material modified via bioengineering, but not when bioengineered genetic material is absent. Appropriately, the regulation does not impose labeling requirements that would mislead consumers,” stated John Bode, president and CEO of the Corn Refiners Association.
Source - Story Partners, LLC
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