The Grocery Manufacturers of America today welcomed a proposal by the Food and Drug Administration to enhance openness and transparency in its regulation of food biotechnology, while reaffirming that the technology and its products are safe.

GMA also praised the agency for its proposal to make the review process for new biotechnology-derived products mandatory and for deciding to develop voluntary labeling guidelines for products made without the use of biotechnology. GMA and the Food Marketing Institute first called on the FDA to make the consultation process mandatory in the fall of 1999.

“We are very pleased the FDA has heard our industry’s recommendations, which we believe will make an effective biotech review process even better,” said Dr. Stacey Zawel, GMA Vice President, Scientific and Regulatory Policy. “This will help ensure continued consumer confidence in science-based regulatory oversight that’s open and transparent. Most importantly, there is again renewed acknowledgement that food biotechnology is safe.”

As the agency plans on developing guidelines for the use of non-biotech claims on food products, GMA is finalizing plans to file petitions with FDA and the Federal Trade Commission so manufacturers would have some “rules of the road” to follow if they choose to make such product claims.

“It’s important that non-biotech claims be truthful and not misleading while helping to meet a marketplace demand,” said Zawel.

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 42 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

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