AFIA Joins National Coalition to Push for Federal GMO Labeling Solution
Will remove the confusion and uncertainty of individual state labeling laws
Arlington, Va., February 6, 2014 – The American Feed Industry Association today announced its membership in the newly formed Coalition for Safe Affordable Food (www.CFSAF.org), joining a national effort to urge Congress to quickly seek a federal solution and establish standards for the safety and labeling of animal feeds, pet foods and human foods and beverage products made with genetically modified ingredients.
“AFIA firmly believes there should be a federal GMO labeling solution protecting consumers by ensuring the safety of both food and feed ingredients produced through the use of modern agricultural biotechnology,” said Leah Wilkinson, AFIA director of ingredients, pet food and state affairs. “If a labeling solution is not agreed upon and even a few of the pending state initiatives are successful, the feed industry’s cost of doing business goes up, on-farm production costs go up, and ultimately the consumer pays the price, with no important information in hand.”
The broad coalition stated in a media conference call earlier today that such a federal GMO labeling solution would:
· Eliminate Confusion: Remove the confusion and uncertainty of a 50-state patchwork of GMO safety and labeling laws, and affirm the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as the nation’s authority on the use and labeling of genetically modified feed and food ingredients.
· Advance Food Safety: Require FDA to conduct safety reviews of all new GMO traits before they are introduced into commerce. FDA is 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: FDA will establish federal standards for companies seeking to voluntarily label their products for the absence of or presence of GMO ingredients to clearly understand their choices in the marketplace.
· Provide Consistency: FDA will define the term “natural” for its use on food and beverage products so human food and beverage companies and consumers have a consistent legal framework for food labels while informing consumer choice.
“With the vast majority of U.S.-produced corn and soybeans enhanced through biotechnology, U.S. feed products made with these genetically modified ingredients are deemed safe by FDA,and have been used by the industry for more than 20 years. They are beneficial to not only the industry, but to the planet and its population as a whole,” said Wilkinson.
It is expected the global population will increase from 7 billion people to 9 billion people by 2050, and the world will need 70 percent more food production to meet the growing demand.
“AFIA recognizes the need for a consistent, national GMO labeling solution, but is strongly against labeling laws set by political campaigns or state and local legislatures. AFIA recommends FDA determine whether labeling is necessary as it is most in tune with our nation’s animal feed and food systems,” Wilkinson continued. “Such a solution determined by FDA, will help the industry to safely and continuously use evolving production technology to help meet global needs.”
· Many of the most influential regulatory agencies and organizations that study the safety of the food supply—FDA, the American Medical Association, the World Health Organization, Health Canada, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Academy of Sciences—have found genetically modified food/feed ingredients are safe and there are no negative health effects associated with their use.
· GM technology adds desirable traits from nature without introducing anything unnatural or using chemicals so food is more plentiful.
· GM technology is not new. In fact, it has been around for the past 20 years, and today, 70-80 percent of the foods we eat in the U.S., both at home and away from home, contain genetically modified ingredients..
· Ingredients grown using biotechnology require fewer pesticides, less water and keep production costs down. In fact, plant biotechnology helps reduce the price of crops used for food, such as corn, soybeans and sugar beets, by as much as 15-30 percent.
· The world’s population is seven billion people, and one in eight people do not have enough to eat. Safe and effective food production tools, like crops produced through GM technology, can help us feed the hungry and malnourished around the world.
About AFIA AFIA, based in Arlington, Va., is the world’s largest organization devoted exclusively to representing the business, legislative and regulatory interests of the U.S. animal feed industry and its suppliers. Founded in 1909, AFIA also is the recognized leader on international industry developments. Members include more than 550 domestic and international companies and state, regional and national associations. Member-companies are livestock feed and pet food manufacturers, integrators, pharmaceutical companies, ingredient suppliers, equipment manufacturers and companies which supply other products, services and supplies to feed manufacturers.
The feed industry makes a major contribution to food safety, nutrition and the environment, and it plays a critical role in the production of healthy, wholesome meat, milk, fish and eggs and pets. More than 70 percent of the feed in the United States is manufactured by AFIA members.
About Coalition for Safe Affordable Food
The Coalition for Safe Affordable Food is dedicated to providing policy makers, media, consumers and all stakeholders with the facts about ingredients grown through GM technology. We are also an advocate for common sense policy solutions that will only further enhance the safety of the GM crops and protect the vital role they play in today’s modern global food supply chain. The coalition is comprised of American farmers and representatives from a diverse group of industry and non-governmental organizations.