Bi-partisan Bill Would Improve Food Safety Standards and Work to Eliminate Consumer Confusion Over Food Labels
WASHINGTON, DC – The Corn Refiners Association today announced its full support of the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, which would ensure our nation’s labeling standards for foods produced with biotechnology are based on consistent, national criteria that are driven by science. The bill was introduced by Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and co-sponsored by Congressman G.K. Butterfield (D-NC).
“We strongly support the efforts of Representatives Pompeo and Butterfield as they seek to strengthen and unify our food labeling laws by protecting consumers and reducing unnecessary regulatory burdens,” said John Bode, President and CEO of the Corn Refiners Association. “Today, food and beverage manufacturers face the potential of an unwieldy patchwork of mandatory state labeling laws that contribute to higher food prices, harm interstate commerce, and increase consumer confusion. The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act will ensure labeling decisions are established by science-based, uniform standards that are consistent in every grocery store in all 50 states. We encourage Congress to pass this bill as soon as possible.”
“Biotechnology is critically important in maintaining a plentiful food supply in a growing world. Its safety has been validated by every leading scientific authority and through nearly 2,000 studies from leading scientific bodies across the world,” said Bode. “Providing consumers with consistent labeling of these foods allows them to make better informed choices for themselves and their families.”
The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act would:
- Eliminate Confusion and Better Inform Consumers: The Act would remove the confusion and uncertainty of a 50-state patchwork of safety and labeling laws by creating a national, science-based labeling standard. It would also affirm the FDA as the nation’s authority for the use and labeling of foods containing ingredients produced through biotechnology.
- Protect Farmers, Small Businesses And Consumers: The legislation would reverse our complex, state-by-state system that harms interstate commerce by imposing costly burdens on farmers and small business owners. These costs are passed on to consumers in the form of higher food prices. A 2014 study out of Cornell University found that these costs could total up to $500 per year for an average family of four.
- Advance Food Safety: The act would also require the FDA to conduct a safety review of all new traits before they are introduced into commerce. FDA would be empowered to mandate the labeling of foods containing ingredients produced through the use of biotechnology if the agency determines there is a health, safety or nutrition reason for doing so.
- Provide Consistency: The FDA would define the term “natural” for use on food and beverage products so that both manufacturers and consumers have a consistent legal framework that would guide food labels and inform consumer choice.
Facts About Biotechnology
- Many of the most influential regulatory agencies and organizations that study the safety of the food supply, including the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, the American Medical Association, the World Health Organization, Health Canada, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Academy of Sciences, have determined that ingredients produced through the use of biotechnology are safe and there are no negative health effects associated with their use.
- Biotechnology adds desirable traits without using chemicals, so that food is more plentiful.
- Biotechnology is not new. In fact, it has been around for the past 20 years, and today 70-80% of the foods we eat in the United States, both at home and away from home, contain ingredients produced through the use of biotechnology.
- Crops grown using biotechnology require fewer pesticides and less water, and they keep production costs down. In fact, biotechnology helps reduce the price of crops used for food, such as corn, soybeans and sugar beets by as much as 15-30%.
- One in eight people, among the world’s growing population of seven billion, do not have enough to eat, and safe and effective methods of food production, like crops produced through biotechnology, can help us feed the hungry and malnourished in developing nations around the world.
For more information about biotechnology and the need for a federal labeling standard, visit www.CFSAF.org.
The Corn Refiners Association is a proud member of The Coalition for Safe Affordable Food, which is dedicated to providing policy makers, media, consumers and all stakeholders with the facts about ingredients grown through biotechnology. We are also an advocate for common sense policy solutions that enhance the safety of crops grown using biotechnology 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.
The Corn Refiners Association (CRA) is the national trade association representing the corn refining industry of the United States. CRA and its predecessors have served this important segment of American agribusiness since 1913. Corn refiners manufacture sweeteners, ethanol, starch, bioproducts, corn oil and feed products from corn components such as starch, oil, protein and fiber.