The Coalition for Safe Affordable Food wants to take the issue of whether to label GMO products and hand it to the FDA.
The biggest surprise? I might be okay with that. (No, really, hear me out.)
The Coalition is made up of 31 different industry groups, including: American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, Biotechnology Industry Organization, National Grain & Feed Association, National Corn Growers Association, and the U.S. Beet Sugar Association.
Now, you have to admit, that’s a pretty impressive and influential list. (You can see the rest of it here.)
The goal of the organization is to prohibit all 50 states from enacting a patchwork of different labeling laws that would not only confuse consumers, but also increase the overall cost of production. If you’re producing an end product that’s sold nationally, you definitely don’t want to create different packaging to comply with all 50 states’ laws.
And the Coalition also understands that biotechnology is an important tool for agriculture:
- Every credible U.S. and international food safety authority that has studied GMO crops has found that they are safe and that there are no health effects associated with their use. In fact, Italian scientists recently analyzed nearly 1800 scientific studies on GMOs, and found overwhelming scientific consensus that there are no harmful effects from GMO consumption.
- GMO crops use less water, fewer pesticides and reduce the cost of crops by 15-30 percent.
- One in eight people among the world’s growing population of 7 billion do not have enough to eat. Safe and effective methods of food production, like crops produced through GM technology, can help us feed the world, including those that suffer from hunger and malnutrition in developing nations.
- The global population is expected to rise to more than 9 billion by 2050 and we will need 70% more agricultural production to meet the challenge. And population growth over the next 35 years will take place during a time of greater climate volatility, placing new and increased pressure on the world’s farmers. GMO crops are instrumental to our ability to keep pace with a growing global population and do so sustainably.
So, what’s the point?
The organization believes that handing the labeling issue over to the FDA will:
- 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 GMO technology.
- 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.