Food and Drug Administration officials were told that the answer to consumer acceptance of biotech foods will be a ruling that manufacturers of biotech food or biotech-derived food products consult with them.
Speaking at a National Food Processors Association FDA hearing in Oakland, CA, Dr. Rhona Applebaum, the executive vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs of the NFPA, said the step would boost consumer confidence in the safety-review process.
Applebaum said the process would be rigorous and scientifically based. "At the conclusion of the consultation process, before the food or ingredient is introduced into interstate commerce, the biotech company should file with the FDA summary documentation to support the determination of safety for the biotech food and derivative ingredients.
"We believe this is a critical step, so that anyone interested can examine it. Most important is that the general public develop a high level of comfort regarding the safety of biotech foods."
Applebaum continued, "NFPA and its member companies strongly support the current FDA policy on labeling requirements for biotech foods. We believe the policy is science-based and is designed to mandate any information on the food label that is material or of consequence to the consumer with respect to safety, health, composition, and nutrition."
She further commented that supplemental statements should note that there are no significant differences between biotech and biotech-free versions of the same food.