The Food and Drug Administration is leading a multiagency effort to educate consumers about genetically modified foods through a new “Feed Your Mind” initiative.

The Environmental Protection Agency and USDA are collaborating on the new program, which was authorized by Congress following the enactment of the GMO labeling bill in 2017 that allows manufacturers to disclose genetically modified ingredients in foods through scannable smartphone codes. Congress allocated $7.5 million in funding for the initiative.

The new initiative “aims to answer the most common questions that consumers have about GMOs, including what GMOs are, how and why they are made, how they are regulated and to address health and safety questions that consumers may have about these products,” FDA said in a news release.

“Farmers and ranchers are committed to producing foods in ways that meet or exceed consumer expectations for freshness, nutritional content, safety, sustainability and more,” said Greg Ibach, USDA’s undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs.

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Ibach said he is looking forward to “partnering with FDA and EPA to ensure that consumers understand the value of tools like genetic engineering in meeting those expectations.”

FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said “genetic engineering has created new plants that are resistant to insects and diseases, led to products with improved nutritional profiles, as well as certain produce that don’t brown or bruise as easily.”

The initiative’s website says GMO foods are as healthful and safe to eat as their non-GMO counterparts. Some GMO plants have actually been modified to improve their nutritional value.”

The webpage also acknowledges that “some people are concerned that farmers who grow these GMOs will use more weedkiller. While this is sometimes the case, EPA regulates the safety of all weedkillers that farmers use on GMO crops and non-GMO crops alike. EPA also shares information to help farmers who are concerned about weeds developing resistance to weedkillers.”

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