The Food and Drug Administration will fund a campaign to promote genetically modified organisms in food under a bipartisan agreement to keep the government funded through the end of September.
The deal to avert a government shutdown, which passed the Senate by a vote of 79 to 18 Thursday, allocates $3 million to “consumer outreach and education regarding agricultural biotechnology,” which includes genetic engineering of food and commodity crops. The money is to be used to tout “the environmental, nutritional, food safety, economic, and humanitarian impacts” of biotech crops and their derivative food products.
“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.), who attempted to get the measure struck from the bill last month.
“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,”
Lowey said during a congressional hearing.
A 2016 study by the Pew Research Center found that 39 percent of American adults believe that genetically modified foods are worse for health than their conventional equivalents.