Montana Farm Bureau supports Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act
March 27, 2015
The Montana Farm Bureau, along with the American Farm Bureau, are supporting the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015. The Act creates a national labeling standard that will give consumers the information they need while avoiding the unnecessary confusion and added cost of a patchwork of state laws. Farm Bureau applauds the bipartisan leadership of Reps. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) and G.K. Butterfield (D- N.C.) in reintroducing this bill.
"It's a good idea to go forward with having a national labeling standard," notes Sarah Boyer from Bridger, MT, who serves on the American Farm Bureau Food Safety Advisory Committee. "Having a national standard, not a state-led mandatory food labeling initiative, clarifies the FDA as the nation's foremost authority on food safety and create a voluntary labeling program run by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service. This is the same agency that administers the USDA Organic Program. I remember the early organic labels were confusing until USDA started handling it. If a producer or manufacturer wants to go farther down the labeling line they can, but a standard for the industry should be set that doesn't create a burden for farmers."
State-labeling initiatives tend to be driven by the anti-GMO groups. They mislead consumers about the safety of GM foods, even though there is no credible evidence linking a food-safety or health risk to the consumption of GM foods. The initiatives mask the benefits of biotechnology in food production and can lead to decreased food production.
"There really is a need for consumers to be educated on GMO crops and how they really pertain to agriculture," says Boyer, who is a professional chef and takes a keen interest in food safety. "The anti-GMO contingent has portrayed GMOs used in agriculture as being a science test. I think it would behoove the industry to dispel that image. It is interesting how many people are anti-GMO who really don't understand the actual process or realize all the research that goes into a plants and seeds. Some of the cures they have for cancer have been based on genetically modified organisms. People who buy purebred dogs are buying a genetically modified animal. GMO crops have been developed to be resistant to certain pests, reducing the need for pesticide use. "
American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman concludes, "Consumers have a right to know what's in their food, but they shouldn't be misinformed about what's safe, or forced to pay higher prices unnecessarily. Thanks to innovation, farmers and ranchers have new and improved methods to increase their efficiency while preserving farm land for generations to come. Farmers benefit from choice and so should consumers."
–Montana Farm Bureau