The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) has announced its membership in the newly formed Coalition for Safe Affordable Food (CFSAF), joining a national effort to urge Congress to quickly seek a federal solution and establish standards for the safety and labeling of animal feed, pet food and human food and beverage products made with genetically modified ingredients.
"AFIA firmly believes there should be a federal GMO labeling solution protecting consumers by ensuring the safety of both food and feed ingredients produced through the use of modern agricultural biotechnology," said Leah Wilkinson, AFIA director of ingredients, pet food and state affairs. "If a labeling solution is not agreed upon and even a few of the pending state initiatives are successful, the feed industry's cost of doing business goes up, on-farm production costs go up, and ultimately the consumer pays the price, with no important information in hand."
The broad coalition said such a federal GMO labeling solution would:
Eliminate confusion: Remove the confusion and uncertainty of a 50-state patchwork of GMO safety and labeling laws, and affirm the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as the nation's authority on the use and labeling of genetically modified feed and food ingredients.
Advance food safety: Require FDA to conduct safety reviews of all new GMO traits before they are introduced into commerce. FDA is empowered to mandate the labeling of GMO food ingredients if the agency determines there is a health, safety or nutrition issue with GMO technology.
Inform consumers: FDA will establish federal standards for companies seeking to voluntarily label their products for the absence of or presence of GMO ingredients to clearly understand their choices in the marketplace.
Provide consistency: FDA will define the term "natural" for its use on food and beverage products so human food and beverage companies and consumers have a consistent legal framework for food labels while informing consumer choice.
"With the vast majority of U.S.-produced corn and soybeans enhanced through biotechnology, U.S. feed products made with these genetically modified ingredients are deemed safe by FDA, and have been used by the industry for more than 20 years. They are beneficial to not only the industry, but to the planet and its population as a whole," said Wilkinson.
It is expected the global population will increase from 7 billion people to 9 billion people by 2050, and the world will need 70 percent more food production to meet the growing demand.
"AFIA recognizes the need for a consistent, national GMO labeling solution, but is strongly against labeling laws set by political campaigns or state and local legislatures. AFIA recommends FDA determine whether labeling is necessary as it is most in tune with our nation's animal feed and food systems," Wilkinson said. "Such a solution determined by FDA, will help the industry to safely and continuously use evolving production technology to help meet global needs."