BIO Statement Regarding Congressional Report on the Safety of Agricultural Biotechnology

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    Charles Craig
    Lisa Dry
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WASHINGTON (APRIL 13, 2000)-- We commend the work of the House subcommittee report which encompasses the research and testimony of distinguished scientists who appeared before Congress during three public hearings held last fall, said Dr. Val Giddings, vice president for food and agriculture of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) in response to a report issued today by Rep. Nick Smith (R-Mich.) chairman of the Subcommittee on Basic Research titled: Seeds of Opportunity: An Assessment of the Benefits, Safety, and Oversight of Plant Genomics and Agricultural Biotechnology.

The report’s findings are fully consistent with and support those of the National Research Council, which just last week declared that foods and crops improved through biotechnology are safe. In addition, the House report notes that agricultural biotechnology ‘has tremendous potential to reduce the environmental impact of farming, provide better nutrition, and help feed a rapidly growing world population.’

Clearly, the rapidly growing body of experience, supported by enormous data and research on biotech crops supports the overwhelming view of the scientific community that crops and plant-derived foods improved through biotechnology do not pose risks different from similar plants developed using traditional breeding methods.

Once more an independent scientific body has scrutinized the three federal agencies that provide oversight for biotech foods and crops and found that this regulatory framework, which has served the U.S. consumer for 14 years, continues to provide the essential public health and environmental protection we expect and deserve from our government.

We fully support the House subcommittee’s recommendations that industry shares a responsibility with government and the scientific community to educate the public and improve the availability of information on the safe use of these products.

One step towards increasing public awareness and transparency is the recent formation of the Council for Biotechnology (CBI). BIO is proud to be a founding member of the CBI and is intent on helping people in the United States answer questions they may have concerning agricultural biotechnology. The CBI’s mission is to provide accurate information from a variety of industry, academic, scientific, government and third party sources.

We are eager to work with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to foster an open and thorough discussion of the issues raised by agricultural biotechnology.

BIO represents more than 900 companies, academic institutions and biotech centers in 47 states and 26 nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental products.

For more information: Additional information about agricultural biotechnology can be found at www.bio.org, www.whybiotech.com or by calling 1-800-980-8660. The subcommittee’s report can be viewed in its entirety at www.house.gov/science.

About BIO
BIO is the world's largest trade association representing biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world. BIOtechNOW is BIO's blog chronicling “innovations transforming our world” and the BIO Newsletter is the organization’s bi-weekly email newsletter. Subscribe to the BIO Newsletter.