No matter which side of the political divide you’re on, genetically modified foods (or GMOs) are one of the most controversial food issues facing America today. While the anti-GMO movement grows and the Senate — after significant delay — last year approved the introduction of GMO labels to packaged foods, a new initiative from the Food and Drug Administration seeks to turn around the mixed press Monsanto and company have received.
The latest spending bill — which was passed at the eleventh hour to avoid a government shutdown — includes a unique provision: $3 million allocated to the FDA to combat “misinformation” in the media and otherwise surrounding the health and safety of GMOs.
The provision specifically directs the FDA to provide “consumer outreach and education regarding agricultural biotechnology,” which will in turn provide positive public relations outreach to bolster “the environmental, nutritional, food safety, economic, and humanitarian impacts” of GMOs, according to The Washington Post.
The provision was likely included in the spending bill as a result of an April 18 letter penned to Congress pleading for resources to counter “a tremendous amount of misinformation about agricultural biotechnology in the public domain.”
However, the new initiative was not popular with all members of Congress.
“It is not the responsibility of the FDA to mount a government-controlled propaganda campaign to convince the American public that genetically modified foods are safe,” said Rep. Nita M. Lowey (D-N.Y.) in a statement. “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.”
In recent years, the US Department of Agriculture and the FDA have greenlit more genetically modified produce than ever before, including a pink pineapple, an apple that never bruises, and mushrooms that will never turn brown.