NGFA backs proposed biotech labeling legislation

Bill would create mandatory process for FDA to review safety of traits

The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) is backing the introduction in Congress of what it called much-needed, common-sense legislation that would provide a national framework to govern labeling of food and feed containing biotech-enhanced ingredients.

The bill, introduced by Reps. Mike Pompeo, R-Kansas, and G.K. Butterfield, D-North Carolina, would create a mandatory process under which the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would review the safety of biotech-enhanced traits prior to their commercialization to ensure they are as safe as or safer than their conventional counterparts for use in food and animal feed. This concept builds upon and formalizes the current voluntary FDA consultation process to which biotechnology companies adhere prior to introducing new traits into the marketplace. The bill also would create a voluntary certification process to be used by companies that wish to label and market food or feed as not containing biotech-enhanced ingredients, thereby providing for a standardized approach for providing consumer choice.

“We commend Congressmen Pompeo and Butterfield for their strong leadership in building upon and further improving similar legislation they introduced in the last Congress to address what otherwise would be serious and extremely costly inefficiencies and disruptions to interstate commerce that would result if state or local governments adopt a patchwork of mandatory biotech-labeling schemes,” said NGFA President Randy Gordon. “Importantly, this bill also provides for consumer choice and certainty for those who prefer to purchase products that do not contain biotech-enhanced ingredients, while at the same time not encumbering other consumers with the significant costs that have been shown to be inherent in a state-by-state mandatory biotech-labeling approach.

“The NGFA supports agricultural biotechnology and other scientific and technological innovations that contribute to increased, sustainable production of an abundant, safe and high-quality food and feed supply for U.S. and world consumers,” Gordon said.