WASHINGTON (FNS) -- A coalition of business groups has asked the White House to press for changes in proposed regulations governing the global transport of products, such as food, that contain genetically altered ingredients.
linton last week. The Grocery Manufacturers of America, Food Distributors International, National Broiler Council and the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association were among 24 industry groups signing the letter.
The associations argue the convention was intended to regulate the transportation and use of the actual biological materials used in the production of genetically altered products.
"Negotiators have lost sight of this laudable goal, however," the letter says. "In the process, [they] created potentially huge impediments to the global free trade of agricultural, food, beverage and consumer products."
The feared roadblocks to commerce include provisions requiring risk assessments for food and consumer products, labeling mandates and completion of a lot of paperwork, according to the associations. The convention has been under negotiation for five years and is set to be completed in February during a U.N. meeting in Colombia.
The U.N. biotechnology convention was among several issues discussed last week at a GMA briefing with reporters on government and trade issues facing the processed-food industry.
Among the other issues on the GMA's plate are fighting for repeal of so-called "snack taxes" in Maine and the District of Columbia, the last two jurisdictions with such special taxes targeted at potato chips and other snacks.
On the national level, a GMA priority for the upcoming Congress is to press for national uniformity in food labeling. Such uniformity would eliminate the need for companies to follow a patchwork of individual state labeling laws governing a variety of standards like freshness, expiration dates, container deposits and religious dietary needs.