BIO Opposes Bill Introduced by Senator Moynihan

WASHINGTON (March 30, 2000) - The Biotechnology IndustryOrganization (BIO) issued the following statement in response to legislation introduced by Senator Moynihan (D-N.Y.) Wednesday advocating new regulatory procedures for foods improved through biotechnology.

The principal impact of this proposed legislation would be to impose increased regulatory uncertainty and delay before important products, such as vitamin and nutrient enhanced rice, could reach the hundreds of millions of people in the developing world who so desperately need them, said Dr. Val Giddings, BIO vice president for food and agriculture.

In addition, if enacted, this legislation would discourage innovations of great environmental and economic benefit to farmers in the United States and around the world as they labor to meet the challenge of increasing global food demands.

Food and Drug Administration regulations in place since 1992 provide rigorous protection for American consumers based on extensive evaluations of foods improved through biotechnology. This proposed legislation would not increase protection for consumers, but would promote bureaucracy, administrative delay, and confusion.

Each and every food improved through biotechnology has entered the marketplace only after extensive evaluation by regulatory agencies including the FDA, Environmental Protection Agency, and United States Department of Agriculture. This unprecedented rigor in prior review ensures that these improved foods are nutritious, safe, and wholesome. In fact, no foods in history have been subjected to more rigorous and detailed scrutiny and testing in advance than those improved through biotechnology.

We are confident the deliberative process of the Senate will quickly determine that this proposed legislation is unnecessary, and would be to the detriment of consumers around the world who could benefit from foods improved through biotechnology.

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