Contact:  Timothy Willard (202/637-8060), or Libby Mikesell (202/639-5919)

Visit NFPA’s Website at


— NFPA Calls Mandatory Premarket Review for New Biotech Food Products and Establishment of Guidance  for Label Claims “The Right Decision”

(Washington, D.C.) – A proposed rule by the Food and Drug Administration providing for a mandatory review process prior to the marketing of new biotech food products, and draft guidance for making label claims for “biotech” or “biotech-free” products, “is a strong step forward for consumer confidence in food biotechnology,” according to the National Food Processors Association (NFPA).  The rule and guidance were issued by FDA on January 17.

“Making the pre-market review process mandatory is the right decision,” said Dr. Rhona Applebaum, NFPA’s Executive Vice President of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs.

Dr. Applebaum noted that “When FDA began reviewing the regulatory process governing food biotechnology in 1999, NFPA strongly stated the food industry’s position that consumer confidence would be improved if FDA made the review process mandatory, and if the information on which their decisions are based were transparent and publicly available.  FDA’s announcement indicates that this revised review process will be thorough, rigorous, and scientifically based, which we believe will lead to increased consumer confidence in this important technology.”

On the issue of label claims, Dr. Applebaum stated that “We agree with FDA that criteria are needed for ensuring that any label claims for ‘biotech’ or ‘biotech-free’ products are truthful and non-misleading for consumers.  NFPA and its member companies have strongly supported the current FDA policy on labeling requirements for biotech foods.  We believe it is essential that mandatory labeling be reserved for information that is material – that is, information that goes to the safety, health, composition, or nutritional value of the food.”

Dr. Applebaum pointed out that “Some consumer groups have argued that only mandatory labeling will enhance consumer confidence in biotechnology.  However,

we believe that education is what is needed to help consumers understand biotechnology and its benefits.  The information needed by consumers to better understand this important technology cannot be conveyed by a warning-type label.”

Dr. Applebaum concluded that “NFPA looks forward to closely reviewing FDA’s proposed rule and labeling guidance, and to working with the Agency to ensure that the regulatory process for agricultural biotechnology not only rigorously oversees the safety of such products but also builds the confidence of consumers in this promising technology.”


NFPA is the voice of the $460 billion food processing industry on scientific and public policy issues involving food safety, nutrition, technical and regulatory matters and consumer affairs.

For further information or to arrange an interview with an NFPA spokesperson on this subject, call Timothy Willard, NFPA’s Vice President of Communications, at (202) 637-8060; Libby Mikesell, Senior Director of Communications, at (202) 639-5919; or visit NFPA’s Website at