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Food Industry Opposes Mandatory GE Labels in Massachusetts

Food Industry Opposes Mandatory GE Labels in
Massachusetts

Press Release
SOURCE: Grocery Manufacturers of America

GMA Says Massachusetts Mandatory Labeling Bill 'Unnecessary and
Redundant'

WASHINGTON, May 23 /PRNewswire/ -- The Grocery Manufacturers
of America today urged members of the Massachusetts Joint Committee
on Commerce and Labor to reject a state proposal requiring mandatory
labels for biotech foods.

``The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) already regulates
the introduction of and labeling of biotech foods,'' said Lisa Katic, director
of science and nutrition policy at GMA. ``This makes mandatory state
labeling for genetically-enhanced food products unnecessary and redundant.''

In testimony before Massachusetts lawmakers, Katic pointed out that FDA
has been reviewing biotech crops for decades and has determined that these
foods are as safe or safer than foods developed through crossbreeding and
traditional methods. Katic also noted that in addition to FDA review, food
biotechnology is regulated for safety and environmental impact by the U.S.
Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Katic said that while GMA opposes mandatory labeling, the food industry
understands consumers want to learn about the benefits of biotech. ``A label
is just not the best vehicle to educate consumers about modern biotechnology
in a truthful and non-misleading manner,'' said Katic. ``Based on repeated
surveys, we know consumers would view the label as a warning. The scientific
evidence points in the exact opposite direction. There is simply no basis
for sending this type of warning to consumers.''

To ensure that consumers are informed about biotech foods, GMA member
companies have made information available through consumer 1-800 numbers,
supermarket brochures and through websites such as the Alliance for Better
Foods (http://www.betterfoods.org ).

``Current U.S. policy on labeling -- based on science -- has consistently
served the best interests of consumers. It would be a mistake to make
unnecessary changes to that system and begin a process that could lead to
an unmanageable patchwork quilt of state regulations on labeling practices,''
concluded Katic.

GMA (http://www.gmabrands.com ) 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.

SOURCE: Grocery Manufacturers of America

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