Written Testimony-GMO hearing NYC

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To whom it may concern:

The American Council on Science and Health, (ACSH.ORG), a nonprofit, tax-exempt, consumer education and advocacy group directed and advised by more than 300 physicians, scientists and policy experts, strenuously opposes any measure to require that foods or products containing biotech or genetically-engineered ingredients be labeled. The FDA, along with scientific bodies worldwide, has repeatedly said that labeling is not necessary because genetic modification does not alter the food in any substantive way. In fact, it s irresponsible to assert that GMOs pose any dangers to consumers or the environment since billions of tons of crops have been produced using GMO technology and harvested over many years, and still not a single case of adverse health or environmental effects from such farming practices have been documented. Further, our food has been genetically modified since nomadic tribes first learned to plant and harvest food crops, the beginnings of modern society.

Modern biotechnology has greatly already improved the quality and quantity of food, and stands to do much more if permitted. The misinformation promoted to the public by anti-technology activists and some in the popular media, portraying GM foods as dangerous, is scientifically baseless, and does not allow consumers to make informed assessments of the foods they chose to eat. Current regulatory scrutiny, plus the excellent track record of GM food safety, gives us confidence that GM foods are rigorously regulated and that the technology is safe. In fact, such foods and ingredients are among the most thoroughly tested in the marketplace. One merely has to think of the 300 million North American consumers who have been eating dozens of GM foods grown on hundreds of millions of acres since 1996 with no documented adverse effects.

For 17 years, almost all processed foods in the United States, including cereals, salad dressings, and snack foods, have contained ingredients from plants whose DNA was manipulated in a laboratory. Almost all corn and soybeans grown in the United States are genetically engineered and these crops can be useful in meeting the world s expanding food needs. The genes introduced into genetically modified foods have let farmers spray fewer and less harmful chemicals. At its core, it seems that labeling Initiatives are mainly an effort by organic food growers and environmental groups to drive genetically modified foods off the market, as they are the only ones who would really be helped by such actions. There are easily accessible ways for a consumer who wishes, for whatever reason, to avoid GMO ingredients to do so without a general labeling mandate. A labeling law will simply serve to scare consumers away from eating perfectly safe foods and in the long run, will hurt those who really need those foods the most.

Thank you for your consideration,

Ariel Savransky for the American Council on Science and Health