American farmers and representatives from a diverse group of 29 industry and non-governmental organizations yesterday 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 statement issued by the Coalition asserted that 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. Such a solution would:
- 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 (GMA). "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."
Bailey continued, "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."
The Coalition's press release also included a link to FactsAboutGMOs.org, a website that GMA launched last September to provide consumers, policymakers and the media with answers to their questions about the use of genetically modified food ingredients.
The Coalition for Affordable Safe Food is comprised by the following member organizations:
- AACC International/American Phytopathological Society
- American Bakers Association
- American Beverage Association
- American Farm Bureau Federation
- American Feed Industry Association
- American Frozen Food Institute
- American Seed Trade Association
- American Soybean Association
- American Sugarbeet Growers Association
- Biotechnology Industry Organization
- Corn Refiners Association
- Council for Responsible Nutrition
- Flavor & Extract Manufacturers Association
- Global Cold Chain Alliance
- Grocery Manufacturers Association
- International Dairy Foods Association
- National Association of Manufacturers
- National Association of Wheat Growers
- National Confectioners Association
- National Corn Growers Association
- National Council of Farmer Cooperatives
- National Fisheries Institute
- National Grain & Feed Association
- National Oilseed Processors Association
- National Restaurant Association
- National Turkey Federation
- North American Millers Association
- Snack Food Association
- U.S. Beet Sugar Association