Consumers, health experts desire benefits of biotech foods and concur with current FDA labeling policy

(Washington, August 23) The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST), The Georgetown Center for Food and Nutrition Policy and The International Food Information Council (IFIC) agree with Consumer Reports' statement that, "There is no evidence that genetically engineered [biotech] foods on the market are not safe to eat."

This is supported by other leading medical and nutrition experts who advocate the benefits of agricultural biotechnology in light of a September 1999 Consumer Reports article reaffirming the safety of biotech foods. While the article refers to one question from a survey commissioned by IFIC, it left out other important consumer findings from the survey relevant to labeling and other issues raised in the article.

The February 1999 survey, by the Wirthlin Group and commissioned by IFIC, indicated that consumers remain strongly in favor of the potential benefits that can be garnered through biotechnology. While many consumers may not be biotechnology experts, they remain optimistic about its possibilities and three out of four consumers expect to derive benefits for their families from biotechnology in the next five years.

Nearly a decade of consumer research by IFIC indicates that consumers want to learn more about biotechnology and suggests that providing information from credible sources, such brochures sponsored by government agencies, academic institutions and health professional organizations, and 800 numbers, is more effective than food labels.

By combining modern scientific techniques with age-old agricultural processes, biotechnology is helping farmers produce higher quality crops that require fewer inputs for their growth while preserving natural resources, such as land and water. Crops enhanced through biotechnology have become commonplace in the US years after health professional organizations such as The American Dietetic Association and American Medical Association endorsed their safety and promis

Contact: Alison Esser/Amelia Steiner
International Food Information Council Foundation

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