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 WASHINGTON, Aug. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- The Food and Drug

Administration's recent statement of policy regarding foods produced using biotechnology "will protect the public health while facilitating the development of better and more economical foods," said the National Food Processors Association (NFPA) in comments filed today with the FDA.
 FDA's proposed policy states that no new regulations are needed for foods produced using biotechnology and that the regulatory status of a food depends on the characteristics of the final food product, rather than the process by which it is produced.
 "FDA's policy statement is a significant step forward to laying out the roles, responsibilities and course of action necessary for the food industry and government to ensure that this new technology develops and contributes to maintaining, enhancing and improving the world's best food supply," said Lester M. Crawford, NFPA's executive vice president, scientific affairs.
 "The vast majority of scientists agree that regulation needs to focus on the characteristics of a food, rather than on the process by which it is produced," noted Jeffrey Barach, vice president of NFPA's Eastern Lab. "NFPA concurs with FDA's policy that existing food regulations are adequate to cover biotech foods; no new procedures or regulations are needed."
 In its policy statement, FDA indicates that it will not impose special labeling requirements on foods produced using biotechnology unless a new variety differs from its traditional counterpart so that the usual name no longer applies or unless a safety issue exists to which consumers should be alerted. "We believe that the current regulations for naming and labeling foods have adequately served the needs of consumers throughout years of development of increasingly sophisticated breeding and hybridization techniques," Barach pointed out. "NFPA shares FDA's view that there is no apparent need for any new approach with respect to labeling biotech foods."
 Questions concerning the safety of foods produced using biotechnology must be answered to the satisfaction of both regulatory agencies and consumers, Crawford said. "The success or failure of biotechnology food products depends greatly on the consumer's perception of their safety," he stated. "Education and consumer understanding of the technologies involved and their societal benefits is a goal we all must strive to achieve quickly if this technology is to provide timely benefits."
 NFPA is the scientific voice of the food industry. The association's 500 member companies produce the nation's processed- packaged fruits and vegetables, juices and drinks, meat and poultry, seafood and specialty products.
 -0- 8/26/92
 /CONTACT: Timothy Willard of the National Food Processors Association, 202-637-8060/ CO: Food and Drug Administration; National Food Processors
 Association ST: District of Columbia IN: SU:

TW -- DC022 -- 3651 08/26/92 17:02 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 26, 1992

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