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USGC tackles biotech trade barriers

One of the most prominent, reoccurring trade barriers impacting U.S. agricultural exports is modern biotechnology, according to Ken Hobbie, U.S. Grains Council president and CEO. According to research, food and feed derived from genetically enhanced seeds are becoming increasingly accepted as safe by U.S. consumers. However, globally, biotechnology still causes fear, which Hobbie believes is a product of uncertainty.

“A lack of easily accessible science-based information available in one location is one of the primary reasons, biotechnology in agriculture is still worrisome to many consumers, as well as international regulators,” said Hobbie, adding that agricultural biotechnology is not a new concept and has been available commercially since 1995. “This fear is perpetuated to an even greater extent by activists spreading propaganda that is based on zero science. What we have here is the misinformed informing the uniformed, which causes a great deal of unnecessary anxiety over agricultural biotechnology and impacts the sales of U.S. feed grains and other commodities, which are the safest and most abundant out there.”

To confront the issues head on, the Council is doing what they do best, according to Hobbie— Sharing information. The Council has created a unique multimedia and interactive CD-ROM, now available on the Council’s Web site, to provide science-based information internationally and domestically. This most recent educational tool is geared to inform and separate fact from fiction. The CD also explains the history of agricultural biotechnology and how it is used today and why biotechnology is important to the livelihood of U.S. farmers and to providing an ample food and feed supply to consumers worldwide.

The CD is available on the Council’s Biotechnology Resource Center, which can be found at www.grains.org. Hobbie said though the web-based version, broader distribution will be available overseas and domestically.

“Hopefully this will be a very important step to addressing many of the current concerns pertaining to agricultural biotechnology and serve as an interactive tool that can educate international agricultural biotechnology regulators,” said Hobbie.

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