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American farmers, industry groups form Coalition for Safe Affordable Food

American farmers and representatives from a diverse group of almost 30 industry and nongovernmental organizations announced, on Feb. 6, the formation of the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food (www.CFSAF.org) and urged Congress to quickly seek a federal solution that would establish standards for the safety and labeling of food and beverage products made with genetically modified ingredients (GMOs).

“American families deserve safe, abundant and affordable food,” says Martin Barbre, president of the National Corn Growers (NCG). “And America's farmers rely on this proven technology to protect crops from insects, weeds and drought, enabling us to deliver on that promise and to do so through sustainable means. A federal solution on GMO labeling will bolster consumer confidence in the safety of American food by reaffirming the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) role as the nation's foremost authority on the use and labeling of foods containing genetically modified ingredients.”

A federal GMO labeling solution reportedly will protect consumers and ensure the safety of food ingredients made through the use of modern agricultural biotechnology:

Eliminate Confusion: Remove the confusion and uncertainty of a 50-state patchwork of GMO safety and labeling laws and affirm the FDA as the nation's authority for the use and labeling of genetically modified food ingredients.

Advance Food Safety: Require the FDA to conduct a safety review of all new GMO traits before they are introduced into commerce. The FDA will be empowered to mandate the labeling of GMO food ingredients, if the agency determines there is a health, safety or nutrition issue with an ingredient derived from a GMO.

Inform Consumers: The FDA will establish federal standards for companies that want to voluntarily label their product for the absence or presence of GMO food ingredients, so consumers clearly understand their choices in the marketplace.

Provide Consistency: The FDA will define the term “natural” for its use on food and beverage products, so food and beverage companies and consumers have a consistent legal framework that will guide food labels and inform consumer choice.

“Foods made with genetically modified ingredients (GMOs) are safe and have a number of important benefits for people and our planet,” says Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA). “Our nation’s food safety and labeling laws should not be set by political campaigns or state and local legislatures, but by the FDA, the nation's foremost food-safety agency.

“GMO technology has fostered a revolution in American agriculture that has benefitted consumers in the United States and around the world. And with global population expected to grow from 7billion to 9 billion by 2050, we will need 70% more food production to keep pace. A federal GMO labeling solution will provide a framework for the safe and continued use of technology that is essential to the future of our planet.”

According to a press release issued by the CSAF, the coalition is dedicated to providing policy makers, media, consumers and all stakeholders with the facts about ingredients grown through GM technology. It also is an advocate for common sense policy solutions that will further enhance the safety of the GM crops and protect the vital role they play in today's global food-supply chain.

The coalition is comprised of American farmers and representatives from a diverse group of industry and nongovernmental organizations, including the American Bakers Association (ABA), American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI), American Soybean Association (ASA), American Sugarbeet Growers Association (ASGA), Corn Refiners Association (CRA) Flavor & Extract Manufacturers Association, Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG), National Confectioners Association (NCA), National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), National Grain & Feed Association (NGFA), National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA), National Restaurant Association (NRA), North American Millers Association (NAMA), Snack Food Association (SFA) and U.S. Beet Sugar Association.

Source: Coalition for Safe Affordable Food, PR Newswire, US Newswire

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