Farm Bureau still supportive of FDA authority for GMO labeling

foodCiting a need for consistent and credible messaging, the American Farm Bureau Federation again voiced its support for legislation that would give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authority on the use and labeling of foods containing genetically modified ingredients.

“State-led mandatory food labeling initiatives mislead consumers about the safety of GM foods, even though there is no credible evidence linking a food-safety or health risk to the consumption of GM foods,” AFBF President Bob Stallman said March 25.

A national labeling standard, Stallman said, “will give consumers the information they need while avoiding the unnecessary confusion and added cost of a patchwork of state laws.”

He was speaking in support of the proposed Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015, which was re-introduced in late March by U.S. Reps Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., and G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C. The bill previously was introduced on April 9, 2014 but was not enacted. Farm Bureau believes affirming the FDA’s role will assure consumers about GMO safety and reduce confusion prompted by various state labeling initiatives, Stallman said.

If enacted, the bill would clarify the FDA as the nation’s foremost authority on food safety and create a voluntary labeling program run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Marketing Service. The AMS also administers the USDA Organic Program.

Consumers, Stallman said, “have a right to know what’s in their food, but they shouldn’t be misinformed about what’s safe or forced to pay higher prices unnecessarily. Thanks to innovation, farmers have new and improved methods to increase their efficiency while preserving farmland for generations to come. Farmers benefit from choice, and so should consumers.”

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