This week, a federal budget agreement passed that prevented a government shutdown. Part of that agreement has allocated $3 million to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a new campaign–in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture–to educate consumers about foods produced with genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Consumers will be informed about the “environmental, nutritional, food safety, economic and humanitarian impacts” of genetically modified or “biotech” crops that make up almost all of the U.S.’s corn and soybean sources. Together, the agencies will distribute “science-based educational information.”
The funding was requested just last month by a large group of agriculture and food industry advocates in an effort to oppose what they call too much “misinformation” about GMOs. On the other hand, opponents of the government-sponsored campaign say it’s nothing more than a public relations gimmick for GMO companies. There is also skepticism regarding the government pushing what appears to be a pro-GMO agenda.
“The FDA has to regulate the safety of our food supply and medical devices. They are not, nor should they be, in the pro-industry advertising business,” says Rep. Nita M. Lowey (D-NY).
FDA’s program to educate the public about GMOs has no known launch date as of yet.