Given the continuing debate about biotechnology, the Council of the American Phytopathological Society (APS) refined its position on the topic last week, as three pioneers of agricultural biotechnology received the World Food Prize. APS, the world's largest organization of plant health scientists, represents nearly 5,000 members in 90 different countries. Citing enormous potential benefits for management of plant diseases offered by this technology, APS reiterated its support and opposed mandatory labeling of food derived from genetically modified (GM) plants.
"Biotechnology today is a valuable tool for improving plant health, food and feed safety, and sustainable gains in plant productivity," stated APS President George Abawi. "As has been discussed this week during the Borlaug Summit and the World Food Prize, biotechnology will continue to be an extremely important part of the toolbox for managing plant health."
While strongly supporting transparent science-based regulation of agricultural products, APS has long opposed regulating food, feed, and fiber products solely on the basis of the particular technology used to create these products.
"Current scientific evidence supports the conclusion that GM plants pose no greater safety risk than traditionally bred plants. Labeling GM could be very confusing to consumers," suggested Abawi, "and could reduce the availability and use of this technology for the management of plant diseases."
For a copy of the complete APS Position Statement on the Compulsory Labeling of Plants and Plant Products Derived from Biotechnology, click here.