Bill, the following appeared in The Washington Post, sounds like the article
you saw, since it's AP. I checked the Consumer Federation of America web
site (www.consumerfederation.org) to see if they'd posted more about their
testimony, didn't see anything.
The FDA web site has a page on biotech
(http://www.fda.gov/oc/biotech/default.htm), it has the transcript of the
first hearing (Chicago) but not the one in DC Nov 30, but I'm guessing
they'll put it up soon. Did you know the 3rd one is tomorrow (Dec 13) in
Oakland (announcement doesn't say exactly where)? You could go in person!
I saw part of what I think was the Chicago hearing (it was a panel
discussion) on TV (some cable channel, after the fact), was impressed with
the caliber of the discussion, people on the panel from NRDC & other orgs,
Consumer Groups Urge Labeling of Biotech
Wednesday, December 1, 1999; Page A19
Consumer groups urged federal regulators yesterday to
require labeling of
foods containing genetically modified ingredients and to
approval process for biotech crops, but the food industry
would unfairly stigmatize the products.
"People are not confident with the process as it exists
right now," said
Carol Tucker Foreman of the Consumer Federation of
at the second of three hearings being held by the Food and
Administration on biotech foods.
The FDA considers genetically engineered crops to be
to conventional varieties, so the food industry isn't
required to submit
testing data or to put special labels on biotech products.
Genetically engineered foods have become controversial in
In the United States, public advocacy groups and some
Congress are pressing the Clinton administration to
require labeling. Some
groups want genetically engineered ingredients tested on
people before they are approved for sale.
An estimated 57 percent of the soybeans and 30 percent of
planted in the United States this year was genetically
engineered to resist
pests or herbicides.
The food industry fears that requiring labels on biotech
foods would make
consumers unnecessarily wary of such products.
Experts on consumer behavior and nutrition testified that
understand biotechnology well enough to interpret such
labels. "They don't
even have a clear understanding of traditional plant
breeding, much less
genetic engineering," said Mario Teisl, a University of
who has consulted with the Environmental Protection Agency
"What the consumer wants to know is how does this affect
me, how does
it affect the environment and how does it affect my
family?" he said.
What is needed is a public education program to help consumers
understand the technology, said Mildred Cody, a Georgia
nutrition professor representing the American Dietetic
Instead of requiring labels on biotech foods, the FDA
standards for products that claim to be free from biotech
food manufacturers. Any biotech-free claims "must be
John Gray, president of the International Foodservice
About 100 scientists, industry representatives, farmers
and private citizens
testified at the hearing. The FDA's last hearing will be
Dec. 13 in Oakland,
© Copyright 1999 The Associated Press
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