GM-free labelling misleading, say plant breeders

US biotech producers have opposed the labelling of food products as “GM-free”, saying it wrongly plants the idea with consumers that GM foods are somehow inferior.

“A non-GM label leads consumers to believe there is a difference between GM products and those produced by traditional methods, when there is no difference,” biotech industry representative Bill Olson told this week’s American Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting in San Antonio.

All GM foods had gone though a rigorous regulatory process and to suggest they were inferior was misleading.

Mr Olson said the biotech industry was optimistic that consumers would embrace the technology, once they understood that it could help overcome droughts and was positive for the environment.

“Ultimately it will come down to what must be done to feed, clothe and fuel a booming global population. The number of people in the world is increasing, but the amount of crop and grazing land is not.

“We believe science is on our side. Food security will come through scientific and technological advances.”

EU Commission official Dan Rotenberg also predicted a gradual acceptance of GM crops in Europe. “The EU must accept biotech food and feed, or it won’t be able to feed its livestock,” he said.

European attitudes to GM had been shaped by one-sided, anti-biotech arguments from environmental groups like Greenpeace, he added.