QHow does the Biotechnology Council live up to its first principle, "Respecting people around the world and their right to choose healthy food products that are best for themselves and their families", by opposing GMO labeling of foods? Seems to me we coul

How does the Biotechnology Council live up to its first principle, "Respecting people around the world and their right to choose healthy food products that are best for themselves and their families", by opposing GMO labeling of foods? Seems to me we could better choose the foods we prefer and consider healthy if they were labeled as to GMO. Since more foods lately are GMO than not, they need to be labeled. Please explain.

AExpert Answer

Thank you for this question. I am very glad you asked it.  We absolutely do support the right of consumers to choose food that is healthy and nutritious.  And although we do not sell food products directly to consumers, we support food companies’ decisions to voluntarily label food products for the presence or absence of GMOs, so consumers who wish to can choose food that is not made with GM ingredients. Some companies have opted to use such voluntarily labels such as “USDA Organic."

 

We do support mandatory labeling of food, including GM food, if such food presents a safety risk to a certain population—for example, those allergic to a food ingredient.  We believe the harm in mandating labeling for GM food, just because it is a GM food, is that such a label would convey to consumers that foods made from the farmers’ crops grown with our seeds are less safe than, less nutritious than or somehow different from conventional or organic food.  

 

But there has never been any evidence linking a food-safety or health risk to the consumption of GM foods.  There are hundreds of independent studies that demonstrate this (check out independent studies at Biofortified), in addition to the determinations from scientific and regulatory authorities around the world that GM foods on the market are as safe and nutritious as their non-GM counterparts [see FDA information here]. A few studies have asserted that such a risk exists, but each of these studies has been found not to be credible, essentially “debunked” by the global scientific community.  

 

Examples can be found here:

 

Posted on August 15, 2017
No! However, poor nutrition coupled with highly processed foods and a lack of education regarding healthy eating is bad for our kids. As a mother and farmer, I believe the best way to keep my family safe and healthy is to make sure they eat a balanced diet and make good food choices daily. Fresh, healthy ingredients and minimally processed foods that are low in sugar, salt, calories and cholesterol provide kids with the best opportunity for a healthy diet. Agricultural biotechnology... Read More
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Posted on February 9, 2017
A species is defined by the ability to reproduce viable offspring, so any two plants within a species generally have the potential to cross pollinate. Like any good successful mating, it requires the union of male and female contributions at the right time, same place. So absolutely, GE crops have the potential to cross with non-GE crops of the same species—if they manage to get it on through time and space.    So the rules that apply to dogs and teenagers also apply to... Read More
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Posted on March 2, 2017
Here is a set of slides prepared by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) that discusses the sketch approval process. As the slides indicate, there are four categories of labels that require prior sketch approval: temporary labels, religious exemption, exports with labeling deviations, and special statements and claims. In the situation raised by your question, it is the last category (special statements and claims) that would... Read More
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