BIO Responds to Labeling Bill

(Michael J. Phillips, Ph.D, Executive Director for Food & Agriculture, issued the following statement in response to Congressman Kucinich's legislation calling for the labeling of genetically modified foods):

Washington, D.C. (November 10, 1999) -- ôThis bill is entirely unnecessary. Current law already requires notification on a food label if any changes to food would have an impact on health (e.g., allergenicity), nutrition or safety. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has concluded that the use of biotechnology in food production does not pose danger to health or safety. Therefore, the agency does not require a label on these products.

ôThe point is foods improved through biotechnology can improve the health of each and every one of us by improving nutrition and reducing risks associated with plant disease and food contaminants.

ôNo foods in history have been subjected to as much scrutiny in advance by the federal government as those improved through biotechnology. Foods on the market now that have been reviewed by FDA are at least as safe as, and in some cases, safer than their counterparts produced through traditional means.

ôTo insist on the sort of label this bill would mandate would only confuse consumers by suggesting that the process of biotechnology might in and of itself have an impact on the safety of food. This is not the case.ö