National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard
The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Law was enacted on July 29, 2016. The statute requires the Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture to create a final rule implementing a disclosure standard for bioengineered food. On May 4, 2018, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service published a proposed rule to implement a disclosure standard. The U.S. Beet Sugar Industry filed comments on July 3, 2018 in response to the proposed rule for the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (Disclosure Standard). In our comments, we urged USDA to exclude refined ingredients, including refined sugar, from the scope of the Disclosure Standard. We also wrote that, “Creating any presumption, even unintentionally, that beet sugar produced from transgenic sugarbeets is different or less desirable than its conventional counterparts or cane sugar is not supported by science.
Benefits of Genetic Engineering in Sugarbeets
The National Research Council Committee on Genetically Engineered Crops is to be commended for its timely and thorough review of Genetically Engineered (GE) crops. We believe that your comprehensive examination of the facts will provide additional insights and knowledge about the technology and enhance consumer confidence in the GE crops we produce and the food we consume.
U.S. Beet Sugar Industry Summary of the Science Demonstrating that Refined Sugar Does Not Contain Genetic Material
The U.S. Beet Sugar Industry’s principal objective is to produce high quality products that meet the standards our customers and consumers demand. Through our commitment to best practices and continuous improvement we are global leaders in sustainable sugar production. To that end, we integrated biotechnology into our farming practices which has allowed us to use less water, fertilizer, pesticides, and fuel, while producing healthier plants on less acres. Before doing so, however, we carefully examined the science and conducted extensive testing to ensure that refined sugar produced from bioengineered sugarbeet plants is identical to refined sugar produced from conventional sugarbeets, cane sugar, and organic sugar from U.S. sugar producers and major foreign suppliers.
The science and testing confirms that all plant genetic material (DNA and protein) is removed early in the sugar refining process. Thus, regardless of whether the plant from which the sugar (sucrose) is derived is biotech or otherwise, the resulting sugar molecule is identical in all cases.
The following summarizes the science and testing that has been conducted demonstrating that refined sugar, whether derived from bioengineered sugarbeets or cane, does not contain genetic material: U.S. Beet Sugar Industry Summary of the Science Demonstrating that Refined Sugar Does Not Contain Genetic Material
A Comparative Analysis of Conventional, Genetically Modified (GM) Crops and Organic Farming Practices and the Role of Pesticides in Each
The American public has the right to choose what type of food to eat from the three agricultural production categories, organic, conventional or GM-based food crops, all of which are sustainable. This paper was developed to help consumers understand the specifics behind food production so that their choice is based on facts, not fear or misconceptions stemming from partial information or inconclusive evidence. There are some differences in farming practices among conventional, GM and organic farming methods but there are many practices in common.
Key Takeaways From This Study:
- Food products from conventional, GM crops and organic production practices are safe and are all highly regulated by various government agencies.
- Consumers have a variety of healthy and fresh food options from among the three production methods (conventional, GM or organic products) and should feel free to choose foods from among these different production strategies without social stigma or health concerns.
- Consumers are often willing to pay vastly higher prices for organic products even though they are not categorically more nutritious, healthier or better for the environment than their conventional or GM counterparts.
- Many consumers’ preferences for organically produced foods are based on misconceptions about perceived benefits of organic foods compared to conventional or GM products.