Press Releases

Subcommittee Reviews USDA Marketing Programs

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Washington, DC, June 25, 2015 | comments

Washington, D.C. - Today, Rep. Rodney Davis (IL-13), Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research, held a public hearing to review the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) marketing programs. Dr. Craig Morris, Deputy Administrator of the USDA Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS) Livestock and Seed Program provided an overview of AMS programs that facilitate the marketing of U.S. agricultural products. Members also touched on ongoing efforts with the Energy and Commerce Committee to create a uniform, science-based, national framework governing the use of labeling claims regarding genetically engineered food or food ingredients. 

“It is clear from the testimony provided today that we have the tools and expertise through the Agricultural Marketing Service to provide consumers with the information they want in a manner that supports interstate commerce,” Subcommittee Chairman Davis said. “Technology has enabled us to enjoy the safest, highest quality, most abundant and affordable food supply in the world’s history. That’s why it is so important for the Agriculture Committee to make sure food labeling provides consistent, truthful information that does not confuse or mislead consumers.  I am confident that with the USDA's current process and the legislation under consideration, we can establish a national, uniform, and voluntary marketing approach that will benefit consumers." 

“National uniformity is essential when making marketing claims for agricultural products – including those grown using the latest advances in biotechnology – in order to prevent confusion and inconsistencies from state to state,” Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway said. “As the Agriculture Committee and Energy and Commerce Committee move forward on legislation to establish a national framework for claims relating to genetic engineering, we intend to provide the transparency consumers are looking for while protecting farmers’ and developers’ rights to use safe, proven technology to produce food.” 

Originally authored by Rep. Mike Pompeo and Rep. G.K. Butterfield, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act will bring clarity and stability to the marketplace through national uniformity regarding marketing claims for products grown using the latest agricultural production technologies. The House Agriculture Committee and Energy and Commerce Committee jointly crafted a substitute amendment to the bill to further build and refine its advantages as a national program. The amendment, for which a discussion draft has been made publicly available, is intended to enhance coordination between the FDA and USDA, strengthen confidence in the safety of genetically engineered foods, and provide additional transparency and consumer confidence through a public website listing non-regulated genetically engineered plants and petitions submitted to and determinations made by USDA and FDA. Last week, the Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing focused on the substitute amendment.

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