Processors urge no labeling of biotech foods

Food industry representatives stressed the safety of biotech foods in testimony at a hearing of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee in early October.

Dr. Jeffrey Barach, vice president of special projects for the National Food Processors Assn., supported current FDA policies that no special labeling is necessary unless the biotech product contains a known food allergen or if there are "material differences" from the conventional food. Barach noted that voluntary labeling of foods is permitted, and speculated that some food manufacturers will use voluntary labeling to "achieve product distinction for certain niche markets." Additional labeling requirements are therefore unnecessary, he said. At the same hearing, Gary Kushner, counsel for the Grocery Manufacturers of America, also spoke out in favor of current labeling policies for biotech products. He urged federal regulatory agencies and administration officials to "speak out strongly in support of the science-based regulatory systems" in the U.S., which ensure that biotech foods are safe.

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