FDA, EPA and USDA coordinating on education effort to highlight science behind GMOs
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, today launched a new initiative to help consumers better understand foods created through genetic engineering, commonly called GMOs or genetically modified organisms.
The initiative, “Feed Your Mind,” aims to answer the most common questions that consumers have about GMOs, including what GMOs are, how and why they are made, how they are regulated and to address health and safety questions that consumers may have about these products.
“While foods from genetically engineered plants have been available to consumers since the early 1990s and are a common part of today’s food supply, there are a lot of misconceptions about them,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D. “This initiative is intended to help people better understand what these products are and how they are made. Genetic engineering has created new plants that are resistant to insects and diseases, led to products with improved nutritional profiles, as well as certain produce that don’t brown or bruise as easily.”
“Farmers and ranchers are committed to producing foods in ways that meet or exceed consumer expectations for freshness, nutritional content, safety, sustainability and more. I look forward to partnering with FDA and EPA to ensure that consumers understand the value of tools like genetic engineering in meeting those expectations,” said Greg Ibach, Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs at USDA.
“As EPA celebrates its 50th anniversary, we are proud to partner with FDA and USDA to push agricultural innovation forward so that Americans can continue to enjoy a protected environment and a safe, abundant and affordable food supply,” said EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Assistant Administrator Alexandra Dapolito Dunn.
The “Feed Your Mind” initiative is launching in phases. The materials released today include a new website, as well as a selection of fact sheets, infographics and videos. Additional materials—including a supplementary science curriculum for high schools, resources for health professionals and additional consumer materials—will be released later in 2020 and 2021.
To guide development of the “Feed Your Mind” initiative, the three government agencies formed a steering committee and several working groups consisting of agency leaders and subject matter experts; sought input from stakeholders through two public meetings; opened a docket to receive public comments; examined the latest science and research related to consumer understanding of genetically engineered foods; and conducted extensive formative research. Funding for “Feed Your Mind” was provided by Congress in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017 as the Agricultural Biotechnology Education and Outreach Initiative.
The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.