Saturday’s (17 February) release by the Food and Drug Administration of proposed rules affecting the way biotech food products are approved and labeled should reinforce consumer confidence said the Grocery Manufacturers of America.

“This is a victory for consumers,” said Lisa Katic, a registered dietitian and GMA’s Director of Scientific and Nutrition Policy. “This will make an already effective regulatory system more open and transparent. Most importantly, there is again renewed acknowledgement that food biotechnology is safe.”

“The new labeling guidance is also a win for consumers,” added Katic. “It allows the maximum amount of individual choice while ensuring that food manufacturers claims are truthful and not misleading.

“Consumers want to know that there is a standard,” observed Katic. “And these rules make it clear that – just as with claims made for conventional foods – information provided to consumers about the use or non-use of food biotechnology must be truthful and substantiated.”

Katic concluded noting that there is still a need to educate the public about the science behind and the benefits that will be achieved through biotechnology. “GMA and its members have been leaders in the effort to educate the public on biotech through information on web pages, 800 numbers and consumer brochures. However, to ensure the public continues to support biotechnology, an education effort must be done through a cooperative effort among the business community, government, academia and consumer groups.”

GMA is the world’s largest association of food, beverage and consumer product companies. With U.S. sales of more than $460 billion, GMA members employ more than 2.5 million workers in all 50 states. The organization applies legal, scientific and political expertise from its member companies to vital food, nutrition and public policy issues affecting the industry. Led by a board of 44 Chief Executive Officers, GMA speaks for food and consumer product manufacturers at the state, federal and international levels on legislative and regulatory issues. The association also leads efforts to increase productivity, efficiency and growth in the food, beverage and consumer products industry.