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BIO Comments to FDA on “Agricultural Biotechnology Education and Outreach Initiative; Public Meetings; Request for Comments” (FDA-2017-N-5991; November 17, 2017)

November 21, 2017

November 17, 2017

Divisions of Dockets Management
Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061
Rockville, MD 20852

Re: FDA-2017-N-5991: “Agricultural Biotechnology Education and Outreach Initiative; Public Meetings; Request for Comments”

To whom it may concern:

The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) appreciates this opportunity to provide comments to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on its proposed Agricultural Biotechnology Education and Outreach Initiative (FDA-2017-N-5991).

BIO is the world's largest biotechnology trade association, representing small and large 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 agricultural, healthcare, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO represents its members in a number of matters related to the uses of biology-based technologies in agriculture, animal health and human health.

As stated by FDA in its Federal Register notice1, “The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 (Pub. L. 115-31) stipulates the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, in coordination with the Secretary of Agriculture, will use appropriated funds to provide consumer outreach and education regarding agricultural biotechnology and biotechnology-derived food products and animal feed, including through publication and distribution of science-based educational information on the environmental, nutritional, food safety, economic, and humanitarian impacts of such biotechnology.”

BIO appreciates the breadth of the charge given to the FDA and the United States Department of Agriculture, (USDA). Modern agricultural biotechnology is a set of technological tools that are typically used in conjunction with each other to improve agricultural products and processes. Each of these technologies has a long history of progressive improvements, based upon scientific advances. Understanding that history helps the public place new biotechnology developments in context and leads to a greater appreciation of the importance of science in providing sufficient, nutritional food sustainably and with less environmental impact. BIO and its members are pleased that Congress understands the fundamental importance of sharing this information with consumers.

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