(Posted Wed. Dec 10th, 2014)
The National Corn Growers Association applauded the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health for holding a hearing today regarding the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s role in regulating GMOs and the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act. The hearing serves to advance an ongoing open, transparent conversation about the importance of this technology both to farmers and consumers. Furthermore, it highlighted that a science-based federal solution to the labeling debate is necessary to provide all parties with the certainty that they need.
“With activist and special interest groups continually attempting to impose state-level measures that would lead to further confusion and increase grocery bills for American consumers, this hearing is an important step toward a real solution,” said NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Chair John Linder, a farmer from Ohio. “Food labeling decisions should be left to scientific experts and not dictate by agenda-driven activists. We hope that this public discussion helps bring clarity, and we look forward to working with lawmakers in the new Congress to advance this important piece of legislation.”
The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, authored by Representatives Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) and G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), would eliminate consumer confusion created by a state-by-state patchwork of labeling laws, advance food safety, inform consumers and provide consistency in labeling. The legislation reaffirms the FDA as America’s preeminent authority on food safety and labeling requirements, requires the FDA to approve all new GMO ingredients before they are brought to market and establishes federal standards for companies that wish to voluntarily label their products for the absence or presence of GMO food ingredients.
NCGA, as a member of the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food, works to advance clear, science-based food labeling. Following costly mandatory-labeling ballot initiatives that were recently voted down in Oregon, Colorado and Washington State, CFSAF believes now is the time for Congress to adopt a national, consistent, labeling standard that protects consumers, famers and food manufacturers.
“Today’s hearing makes clear that Congress is taking this issue very seriously,” said CFSAF Spokeswoman Claire Parker. “Representatives Pompeo and Butterfield are to be commended for advancing a bipartisan solution that will ensure consumers’ grocery prices are not subject to the whims of activists traveling from state to state. Consumers deserve consistent, clear labeling guidelines no matter where they are in the United States—not misinformation, loopholes and inconsistencies.”
Studies have shown that mandated GMO labeling would increase grocery prices for consumers by hundreds of dollars per year as food companies construct multiple supply streams, design new labels, acquire additional warehouse space and create new transportation routes. A recent study by Cornell University found that GMO labeling would increase grocery costs for an average family by $500 per year. Consumers would be forced to bear these increased costs despite the fact that more than 1,000 peer reviewed studies and the world’s most respected health and safety authorities – including the American Medical Association, the World Health Organization and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration – have determined that GM food ingredients are safe.
The Coalition for Safe Affordable Food is a broad-based coalition representing the entire American agriculture food chain. The Coalition is committed to increasing understanding about the science and safety of GM technology and to advocating for a federal labeling solution. For more information about the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food standard, visit www.cfsaf.org.