WASHINGTON, DC (Oct. 3, 2000) The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) today reaffirmed that safety is its members’ highest priority and announced an expanded commitment to increase public understanding of agricultural biotechnology products and practices. The industry announced its support and commitment to:
1. Ensure that in the future U.S. commercial marketing of seeds improved through biotechnology and intended for the production of commodity grain, food and feed use, will occur only after fully meeting all U.S. regulatory requirements for both human and animal consumption;
2. Continue to support and work within the comprehensive and rigorous science-based regulations as required by the appropriate regulatory agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In addition, our industry endorses a mandatory pre-market notification process for FDA review of all biotechnology food and feed products;
3. Continue to work with the USDA and other interested parties to develop clear and reliable detection methods and systems for grain;
4. Increase our efforts to share scientific information in the spirit of transparency. Our members will disseminate the policies and procedures for ensuring all safeguards are in place for the safe commercial introduction of products. We will also continue to work with the Council for Biotechnology Information (CBI) to help share information about this technology, and increasingly make non-proprietary information related to health, safety and environmental research available via the internet. We will continue to support the CBI as an information resource, providing information through its toll-free number (1-800-980-8660), web site (www.whybiotech.com) and other resources;
5. Establish an independent advisory group to serve as a sounding board on important issues and provide counsel on our actions. The group will include constituencies from all segments of the value chain including, but not limited to consumer groups, growers and grower organizations, food companies, commodity and processing companies, and retail establishments.
Our members will work diligently to advance these efforts, and to share our progress with the public, our industry partners, regulatory agencies and other interested parties. We believe that through these commitments, the biotechnology industry can help ensure that the enormous benefits brought by these products will be broadly realized.
BIO represents more than 900 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations in all 50 U.S. states and more than 27 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health care, agricultural industrial and environmental biotechnology products.