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ASA was a key advocate in ensuring the passage of a nationwide law to govern the labeling of bioengineered food, preventing a patchwork of laws by states. In December 2018, the Administration published the final rule to implement the bioengineered food disclosure standard. ASA will work with the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food (CFSAF) and others to inform soybean producers of the details of the rule.
Additionally, the USDA is expected to propose an update to the Coordinated Framework, which would modernize how biotechnology is regulated. ASA will work with ag groups, manufacturers, and other stakeholders to comment and push for a rule that will allow for a less burdensome and science-based regulatory process for biotech and not require pre-market approval for plant breeding innovations.
ASA will continue to push the Administration to coordinate the U.S. approach to plant breeding innovations, including by putting into regulation the U.S. approach, ensuring USDA, EPA, and FDA are coordinated, and ensuring that the message is being shared internationally to maintain and expand trading opportunities.
BIO is the world's largest trade association representing biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.
Soybean farmers are proud of their contribution to the $4.5 billion soyfoods market. Soy is plant-based, high in nutrients, and low in saturated fat.
ASA opposes a patchwork of state labeling requirements for foods containing biotech products and supports Public Law 114-216, the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, which sets a uniform national standard that preempts individual state laws requiring labeling of what is commonly known as genetically modified organisms (GMOs). ASA is supportive of the definition of “bioengineering” found in Section 291, which excludes modifications that could have been obtained through conventional breeding or found in nature, and believes that any rules or regulations promulgated by USDA to implement the law should adhere to the statute.
ASA supports efforts to update the regulatory process or Coordinated Framework for biotech traits provided any changes do not disrupt foreign markets and approval procedures by their governments. We oppose broadening the definition of “products of biotechnology” to include traits derived through plant breeding innovations, such as gene editing, which would require them to undergo pre-market approval and prevent their widespread adoption in the market.
The Defense Logistic Agency’s 2017 prohibition on soy ingredients as a meat extender sent a shock wave through not only the soy foods community, but also the entire food industry. If ingredients that provide functionality and cost-effectiveness like soy protein are banned based on junk science, what will be next? ASA will continue to work with other stakeholders like the Soyfoods Association of North America (SANA), the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), and our industry partners like ADM, CHS, and many others to press DLA to institute transparent rule making and to rely on the government agencies responsible for nutrition (USDA and FDA) in its decision making. This push will come largely through lobbying Congress to provide oversight and to force these changes.
ASA opposes efforts by the Department of Defense (DoD) to restrict soy in military dining. ASA strives to educate the DoD about the many reasons food companies incorporate healthful, functional, and cost-effective soy protein in meat products. It is imperative that DoD actively engage with other Federal agencies, such as the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration, in developing nutrition policy.
ASA strongly supports the soy protein health claim for heart health, approved by the FDA in 1999. It states that, “25 grams of soy protein per day may reduce the risk of heart disease.” Numerous scientific studies published before and since the health claim was approved show that soy protein lowers LDL-cholesterol and that the totality of the evidence supports continued approval of an unqualified claim. FDA’s proposal to revoke the soy heart health claim is inconsistent with 12 other countries that have authorized health claims on soy protein and heart disease.
Learn about policy issues ASA is working on and which issues need your support.