The American Soybean Association (ASA) welcomes guidance issued last week by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that establishes guidelines for the uniform, voluntary labeling for non-GMO foods. Establishing a uniform standard for voluntary labeling has been a key part of ASA’s push to reduce consumer confusion about which foods do and do not contain ingredients derived from biotechnology.

“ASA is happy to see the guidance from FDA that affirms that voluntary rather than mandatory labeling is the correct science-based and health policy,” said ASA President and Texas farmer Wade Cowan. “This concept has been at the heart of our work on a legislative solution that would provide more clarity to consumers, and we’re encouraged to see that part of the process move forward.”

ASA also pointed to news out of the White House that the administration has rejected a petition calling for the mandatory labeling of GMO’s as indication that the discussion on biotechnology in the consumer marketplace is moving according to science, rather than misconception.

“We have consistently said that explicit labeling should be reserved for health or safety concerns, and science has time and time again proven that these concerns don’t apply to GMOs,” added Cowan. “Slapping a warning label on the front of a food product when no such warning is warranted will only serve to steer people away from the safe and affordable food they need to feed their families. The White House has chosen science over rhetoric, and we applaud them for it.”

Cowan further suggested that the news creates the momentum needed to get labeling legislation that would prevent a patchwork of mandatory state labeling laws passed in the Senate prior to the holiday recess at the end of the year.

“Winter is coming,” Cowan said. “The Senate has the ability in the coming weeks to establish a path forward on labeling that is based in science and doesn’t stigmatize a safe and proven technology, but at the same time provides consumers with the information they want. We encourage Senators to keep moving forward with their work.”