American farmers and representatives from a diverse group of almost 30 industry and non-governmental organizations announced the formation of the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food (www.CFSAF.org) and urged Congress to quickly seek a federal solution that would establish standards for the safety and labeling of food and beverage products made with genetically modified ingredients (GMOs).
"American families deserve safe, abundant and affordable food," said Martin Barbre, President of the National Corn Growers. "And America's farmers rely on this proven technology to protect crops from insects, weeds and drought, enabling us to deliver on that promise and to do so through sustainable means. A federal solution on GMO labeling will bolster consumer confidence in the safety of American food by reaffirming the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) role as the nation's foremost authority on the use and labeling of foods containing genetically modified ingredients."
A federal GMO labeling solution is needed that will protect consumers and ensure the safety of food ingredients made through the use of modern agricultural biotechnology:
• 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.
"Foods made with genetically modified ingredients (GMOs) are safe and have a number of important benefits for people and our planet," said Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association. "Our nation's food safety and labeling laws should not be set by political campaigns or state and local legislatures, but by the FDA, the nation's foremost food safety agency.
"GMO technology has fostered a revolution in American agriculture that has benefitted consumers in the United States and around the world. And with global population expected to grow from seven to nine billion by 2050, we will need 70% more food production to keep pace. A federal GMO labeling solution will provide a framework for the safe and continued use of technology that is essential to the future of our planet."
Facts About GMOs (www.FactsAboutGMOs.org )
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.