March, 24 2015

House Agriculture Hearing On Biotechnology Shows Need For National Voluntary Labeling Standard

For Immediate Release

(Washington, D.C.) – The Coalition for Safe Affordable Food (CFSAF) said today’s productive hearing of the House Agriculture Committee on biotechnology demonstrates the need for a national, consistent labeling standard and the growing bipartisan support for science-based food labeling legislation.

“Today’s hearing once again demonstrates the clear appetite among members of both parties to advance national legislation that will ensure America’s food labels are based on sound science and uniform standards,” said CFSAF spokesperson Claire Parker.

“CFSAF continues to advocate for federal legislation that would reaffirm the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as the agency responsible for setting food labeling and safety standards across the country,” Parker continued. “Such an approach, which is expected to be advanced by a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the coming days, would set a uniform national standard and would protect against a patchwork of state labeling mandates that produce higher food costs and consumer confusion.”

Tuesday’s hearing featured testimony from a number of witnesses who spoke to the critical role biotechnology plays in farming, job creation and scientific research.

“The agriculture industry is facing increased scrutiny for its use of biotechnology—a technology that has enabled farmers to increase yields while reducing the use of land, pesticides, fertilizers, water, and even fuel,” Joanna Lidback, owner of The Farm at Wheeler Mountain in Westmore, VT testified. “I am proud of how far American farmers have come.”

Additionally, witnesses testified that mandatory labeling laws will negatively impact farmers, small businesses and consumers.

“To be clear, the hardest hit by this will be the small, family-owned companies with just one plant or just a single line of production,” said Tom Dempsey, president and CEO of the Snack Food Association. “Quite frankly, these costs could put some companies out of business and thereby increase consolidation in the industry by reducing the players to a few multi-category, multi-national players that can better take on the added cost of sourcing and segregating GMO and non-GMO crops. All of these changes will add final product costs to the consumer. The precise amount of added cost depends on each company’s cost structure.”

“I strongly urge Congress to enact a common-sense law that will provide farmers and consumers with the clarity and certainty needed for meaningful, voluntary food labeling,” Land O’Lakes, Inc. President and CEO Chris Policinski said.

“This issue provides Congress the rare opportunity to advance meaningful, bipartisan legislation to set a national labeling standard that would protect consumers by making sure food labels don’t change from state to state and store to store,” Parker said. “With momentum on our side, we look forward to Congress passing bipartisan legislation this year that gives American farmers, food manufacturers and consumers the certainty they deserve.”

About the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food

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.

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