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We at are pleased to link with the American Farm Bureau Federation. Their policy on Agricultural Biotechnology, which includes their stance on Molecular Farming and Transgenics, is published below. We think it very considered and well thought out, and would broadly agree with it. Environmentally safe Molecular Farming, while needing careful monitoring and regulation, must not be allowed to become a nightmare of needless paperwork and government red tape. We also agree with the statement made by BIO, which we have included below the Farm Bureau policy document.

Biotechnology 104

We support increased efforts through biotechnology to more rapidly develop consumer beneficial traits, to increase the marketability of our products, to solve environmental concerns, to increase net farm income by decreasing input costs and to improve product quality.
We urge state and national political leaders to develop a positive national strategy for biotechnology research, development and consumer education.
Part of this strategy should include an open and frank dialogue with all interested parties. We believe that our competitive advantage in world markets will be maintained only by the continued support and encouragement of technological advancements. We encourage USDA to take a lead in coordinating efforts to evaluate and move approved products and technologies to the marketplace in a timely manner. USDA should ensure appropriate protocol for the approval of research and production of pharmaceutical or industrial crops to protect the integrity of commercial grain markets. The approval of new products should be based on safety and efficacy criteria.
US government agencies, particularly the USDA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), should continue to serve their respective roles in providing unbiased, scientifically-based evaluations concerning the human and animal safety and wholesomeness, as well as the environmental impacts of biotechnology-enhanced commodities.
US government agencies should evaluate whether there are improvements in the regulatory approval process that could be made to further enhance consumer confidence. Consideration of socio-economic criteria should not be required. We favor strong patent support to encourage these new technologies. Patents should be broad enough to provide reasonable protection of development costs, but should not be so broad as to grant one developer the right to a whole class of future developments for common plants or growing processes already in the public domain.
We recommend that Congress take the appropriate actions to ensure that the USDA's Agriculture Research Service (ARS) plant-breeding programs be permitted to utilize biotechnology, and other developing technologies in their breeding programs. We oppose classifying plants derived through biotechnology as pesticides.
We support patenting of animals to allow biotechnology companies to recover the costs of research and development of transgenic animals for agriculture.
However, royalties from patents on transgenic animals must be structured in a manner which allow producers a clear understanding of their obligations and do not disrupt the existing livestock marketing systems.
We are opposed to any law or regulation requiring registration of farmers who use or sell products approved for sale by the Food and Drug Administration.
We oppose individual states establishing separate policies on agricultural biotechnology labeling.
We support active involvement by the United States in the development of international standards for biotechnology. We oppose split registration or limited use registration of seeds enhanced through biotechnology. Adequate and universally accepted testing methods for biotech adventitious presence in seed should be established. Seed that is approved for restricted use or controlled distribution should be labeled and have visually distinguishing characteristics. FDA should set acceptable standards for determining what is non-biotech. Standards governing the identification or availability of biotech products should be established uniformly across the United States.
In order to protect producers from liability, adequate testing methods must be made available for all commercialized crops. Producers should not be penalized for testing costs. The original buyer of commodity crops should be responsible for testing of the commodity and upon taking delivery such testing should be accepted by end users. Producers shouldn't bear liability for off farm introduction of biotech matter. For new products not destined for food or feed, FDA should set tolerances utilizing foreign matter standards.
The international bodies established to administer the sanitary and phytosanitary agreement of the World Trade Organization should retain the authority to influence the regulation of international trade in agricultural products enhanced through biotechnology.
We support seed tags on packages of agricultural seed stock that warrant genetic purity of seed contained therein. We will also support legislation which allows producers to recover all damages in those instances where the seed does not conform to the genetic purity indicated on the seed tag.
Adequate and accurate information on acceptable markets, and market and planting restrictions must be provided in writing to producers prior to the time they purchase the original input product.
We oppose the imposition by foreign countries of any import restrictions, labeling or segregation requirements of any agricultural product enhanced through biotechnology, once such commodity has been certified by the scientific community as safe and not significantly different from other varieties of that commodity.
We support the maintenance of U.S. export markets by securing foreign regulatory acceptance of biotech products.
Manufacturers of agricultural products enhanced through biotechnology should assume major responsibility for this acceptance, as well as making farmers aware of markets where the products are not accepted.
We support increased efforts to educate the public worldwide regarding the safety and benefits of products developed through biotechnology.
Agricultural products that are produced using approved biotechnology should not be required to designate individual inputs or specific technologies on the product label.
We support:
(1) The science-based labeling policies of FDA, including:
(a) no special labeling requirement unless a food is significantly different from its traditional counterpart, or where a specific constituent is altered (e.g., nutritionally or when affecting allergenicity); and
(b) voluntary labeling using statements that are truthful and not misleading; and
(2) Voluntary labeling of identity-preserved agricultural and food products that is based on a clear and factual certification process. We oppose the practice of seed marketers imposing a surcharge on U.S. customers that is not imposed on foreign customers.

© Farm Bureau Federation 2002

From BIO [ Biotechnology Industry Organisation ]

Statement on Plants Intended Not to Be Used for Food or Feed

The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) and its member companies support strong regulatory oversight for all products of crop biotechnology. FDA and USDA have recently issued for comment draft guidance for the production of plant-made pharmaceuticals. BIO supports these efforts, and believes that many of the recommendations made in the draft guidance should be mandatory. BIO also takes the position that permits should be required by USDA/APHIS for the movement, field testing and commercial planting of all regulated articles that are intended not to be used for food or feed, including pharmaceutical-producing plants and plants that produce industrial products. BIO members will submit detailed confinement plans and standard operating procedures with all of their permit applications. We strongly encourage the agency to treat these plans and procedures as permit conditions, subject to mandatory audit and inspection.

Detailed scientific and regulatory analyses confirm that these products can be safely planted, grown and harvested in an agricultural region where all of the appropriate production and confinement handling practices are implemented. However, in their recently issued draft guidance, USDA and FDA suggested that pharmaceutical-producing plants that out-cross should only be grown in regions of the country where little or none of the plant’s food/feed counterparts are grown. In response to this recommendation, BIO members commit to grow regulated articles that are derived from outcrossing food and feed crops, but which are intended not to be in food or feed, only in areas of the country that are not centers of that crop’s production (e.g. no corn-based regulated articles in the mid-west corn belt).

Related Information

Questions and Answers Regarding BIO Policy for Geographic Restrictions for Pharmaceutical and Industrial Plants

BIO's new policy on plant-made pharmaceuticals and industrial plants excludes the planting of corn in the cornbelt. The cornbelt is defined as America's heartland in a recent map produced by the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture:

© 2002 Biotechnology Industry Organization.
All Rights Reserved.