QThere are currently 61 countries worldwide that label food that has been genetically engineered. Why would food need a warning if it was safe to eat?

There are currently 61 countries worldwide that label food that has been genetically engineered. Why would food need a warning if it was safe to eat?

AExpert Answer

In fact, you’ve answered your own question in a way. There is no need for mandatory labeling in the U.S. because biotech food is safe to eat. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ensures that food labels are truthful and not misleading.  In fact, the FDA would not allow a warning label on foods produced using biotechnology, because they are safe to eat. (FDA has information regarding its assessment of the safety of “Foods from Genetically Engineered Plants”). Our surveys since 1997 have consistently shown that a majority of Americans support the FDA’s policy on labeling foods produced using biotechnology.  The FDA policy requires special labeling on biotech foods only when genetic engineering would introduce a trait not normally found in the conventional food.  In that case the food would need to indicate the presence of an additional protein, nutrient profile or presence of an unexpected allergen, not whether the food was produced using biotechnology.  FDA’s policy ensures that labels describe the facts about the product, not a production process, and also ensures that claims about the absence of biotechnology in food production do not falsely imply the non-biotech product is safer or otherwise superior.  The bottom line is that all foods have to meet the same FDA or U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) safety standards, whether they are produced conventionally, using biotechnology or produced organically.

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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