Congressional Hearing Lauds the Benefits of Agricultural Biotechnology
“Biotechnology is an essential tool for farmers”
Washington, D.C. (March 24, 2015) – “Biotechnology is an essential tool for farmers to have in the toolbox if we plan to feed an estimated 10 billion people by the year 2050 in an environmentally sound, sustainable, and affordable way,” said Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), Chairman of the House Ag Committee at a hearing today on Mandatory Biotechnology Labeling Laws.
“Unfortunately, threats exist to our ability to fully utilize this technology in the form of proposed Federal and State laws, as well as some State laws that will soon be implemented if we don’t act,” said Conaway in his opening statement.
In response to the increasingly contentious debate over biotech food labeling, the Committee hosted today’s hearing to examine whether calls for mandatory labeling laws are aimed at enhancing transparency for consumers or aimed at demonizing biotechnology in favor of organic or other farming practices.
“We support a consumer's right to know about how our food is grown, and agree with many participating in the hearing today that such information needs to be provided in a meaningful, non-misleading way,” says Cathy Enright, Executive Vice President for Food and Agriculture for the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) and Executive Director of the Council for Biotechnology Information whose GMO Answers initiative was created to answers consumers' question about food production.
“Mandating GMO labels on products that are as safe as their non-GMO counterparts will result in increased food costs to consumers while providing no benefit," says Enright.
The Council for Biotechnology Information manages the GMO Answers website where the public can ask questions about biotechnology and get answers from experts as well as additional resources on agriculture and food production.
Dr. David B. Schmidt, President and CEO, International Food Information Council and Foundation in Washington, D.C. was one of today’s witnesses and talked about consumer perceptions of biotechnology. Schmidt said more people need to speak up about the facts in this debate. “It’s not a science debate or even a safety debate – it’s a communications debate,” said Schmidt.
*Note: Witness testimonies and Chairman Conaway’s opening statement are posted on the House Ag Committee website.