Legislation Would Protect Consumers by Eliminating Confusion and Advancing Food Safety
(Washington, D.C.)—The Coalition for Safe Affordable Food today applauded Reps. Mike Pompeo and G.K. Butterfield for their introduction of the bipartisan Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, to establish a federal labeling standard for food and beverage products made with genetically modified ingredients (GMOs).
“The introduction of the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act was an important first step to restoring sanity to America’s food labeling laws,” said Martin Barbre, President, National Corn Growers Association. “GMOs are perfectly safe and America’s farmers rely on this proven technology to protect our crops from insects, weeds and drought. Important food safety and labeling decisions should be made by the scientists and qualified policymakers at the FDA, not political activists and campaigns. A federal solution on GMO labeling will bolster consumer confidence in the safety of American food, while giving farmers and food producers the certainty we need to continue providing safe, affordable food for America’s families.”
The bill, introduced during a media teleconference today by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), and cosponsored by Representatives G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Jim Matheson (D-UT) and Ed Whitfield (R-KY) will reaffirm the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as America’s sole authority on food safety and labeling requirements, avoiding an expensive and confusing patchwork of state-by-state labeling laws.
It will also require the FDA to approve all new GM ingredients before they are brought to market and will set a federal standard for the labeling definition of “natural” foods.
This legislation protects consumers and ensures the safety of food ingredients made through the use of modern agricultural biotechnology through the following:
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
GMO technology has fostered a revolution in American agriculture that has benefitted consumers in the United States and around the world. With global population expected to grow from seven to nine billion by 2050, American food producers will need 70% more food production to keep pace. GMOs enable America’s food producers to use their farm land more efficiently, withstand crippling droughts and ward off disease or pestilence while reducing their use of pesticides and chemicals.
For more information about the Coalition for Safe Affordable Foods, as well as the need for a federal labeling standard, visit www.CFSAF.org.
Facts About GMOs
• Many of the most influential regulatory agencies and organizations that study the safety of the food supply, including the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, the American Medical Association, the World Health Organization, Health Canada, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Academy of Sciences, have found genetically modified food ingredients (GMOs) are safe and there are no negative health effects associated with their use.
• GM technology adds desirable traits from nature, without introducing anything unnatural or using chemicals, so that food is more plentiful.
• GM technology is not new. In fact, it has been around for the past 20 years, and today, 70-80% of the foods we eat in the United States, both at home and away from home, contain ingredients that have been genetically modified.
• Ingredients grown using GM technology require fewer pesticides, less water and keep production costs down. In fact, GM technology helps reduce the price of crops used for food, such as corn, soybeans and sugar beets by as much as 15-30%.
• One in eight people among the world’s growing population of seven billion do not have enough to eat, and safe and effective methods of food production, like crops produced through GM technology, can help us feed the hungry and malnourished in developing nations around the world.
We are a broad-based coalition representing the entire American agriculture food supply chain – from farm to fork. We are committed to increasing the public’s understanding about the science and safety of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and advocating for science-based policies that keep food affordable for every American.