Biotechnology is playing an increasingly important role in sustainable food production—a role that will only increase as the world’s population grows to estimated 10 billion by 2050. The importance of genetically engineered crops, for example, has risen dramatically since large-scale commercialization began in the 1990s. Improvements engineered into these crops can help protect yields and reduce the need for tillage, fuel, fertilizer and other inputs, resulting in lower environmental impacts and a smaller carbon footprint.
As more genetically engineered foods have entered the food system, various governments have begun to require mandatory labeling of foods produced using biotechnology. The question of whether the full benefits of biotechnology in food production are realized ultimately will be determined by consumer acceptance of foods produced through these methods.
Cargill believes biotechnology is a valuable tool that can contribute to a safer, more affordable and more nutritious food supply. We strongly support consumer choice, and are committed to helping farmers and other customers supply consumer products produced using a variety of technologies and production methods—including biotechnology-based, organic and conventional methods. We are committed to satisfying the preferences of our food and feed manufacturing customers, and to supplying them with approved genetically engineered and conventional products to meet their specific product and market needs.
Cargill supports policies that allow manufacturers to voluntarily label products—whether they are produced or derived with or without such organisms—and encourages governments to establish consistent regulatory standards for such voluntary labeling.
Cargill supports the development of risk management policies that address the unintended, low-level presence of agricultural biotech products in food and feed. These policies should align with other international food safety standards that minimize disruptions in trade.
Cargill also believes companies should be required to obtain domestic and export market approvals before they introduce new genetically engineered foods. Commercialization without these approvals can disrupt trade, damage brands and impose burdensome and costly testing on downstream stakeholders.