Grassley seeks clear explanation of U.S. biotech import policies

Chuck Grassley Weekly Address 1From Press Release


U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley has sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration to gather information and gain a better understanding about how the United States treats biotechnology imports from other countries.

After contacting five different federal agencies and several trade groups to get more information about U.S. policy for biotech imports for food or feed grains, Grassley said that it appears nobody has a grasp on the policy.

Grassley said that as the number of biotech crops continues to rise, it will be even more important that there is a clear U.S. policy in regards to imports of biotech food and grain products, especially as the United States works with its partners around the world on policies to eliminate trade barriers for these products.

In a letter to Food and Drug Administration Acting Commissioner Stephen Ostroff, Grassley wrote, “Biotechnology offers the world great promise, however we must have a predictable, transparent and science based regulatory framework throughout the world to limit economic disruptions from the trade of genetically modified food and grain.”

According to a Congressional Research Service report, 420 million acres were planted to biotech crops across the globe in 2012.  These crops range from corn and soybeans to sweet peppers and tomatoes.  Zero tolerance policies can lead to entire ships of product being rejected in foreign ports because of “small amounts of dust” that include traces of biotech traits.  The dust that tested positive for a specific trait may not even be from the current shipment, but under a zero tolerance policy it does not matter.

A signed copy of the letter can be found here.