Whether or not to require labeling of GMO foods
is a key issue in the ongoing debate over the risks and benefits of plant and animal food
produced using biotechnology. Bills requiring mandatory labeling
have been introduced in Congress and state
legislatures, and there have also been several failed attempts to pass citizens’
initiatives on statewide and ballots.
There has never been any evidence linking a food safety or health risk to
the consumption of GMO foods. There are hundreds of independent
studies that demonstrate this. In addition, determinations from scientific and regulatory
authorities around the world support the fact that GMO foods on the market are as safe
and nutritious as their non GMO counterparts.
There have been a few studies that have asserted such a risk exists but
each of these studies has been found not to be credible.
The GMO food labeling issue is in no way simple. Although mandatory labeling may appear to be a
straightforward measure, there are several complex issues that need
resolving prior to implementation.
MichBio supports a national solution for food labeling and safety through the FDA that educates consumers, provides clarity and consistency, and advances food safety. Such a national solution should include:
A mandatory FDA pre-market
safety assessment of any GMO food as a preventive measure to
ensure the health of the public. Moreover, the FDA should mandate the labeling of any GMO food presented a safety or health risk, or was compositionally different than its non-GMO food counterpart;
Federal standards for the absence-of or presence-of GMO food ingredients for companies that want to voluntarily label their products;
Clear definitions for terms describing GMO food products thus creating a consistent legal framework that would guide food labels and inform consumer choice.
Affirming the FDA as the nation's authority on food safety and labeling matters thus addressing the confusion and uncertainty created by a patchwork of state GMO safety and labeling laws.
A federal solution approach will help provide consumers with the tools they need to make informed decisions and answer safety questions by virtue of established FDA standards. All of this will be predicated on sound scientific principles, technologies and assessment.
MichBio joins its national partners in advocating for the federal solution proposed by the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food. It has the support of a vast cross-section of the U.S. agriculture community.