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NAMA Applauds BIO Announcement as Important First Step

November 5, 2002

CONTACT: James Bair, Vice President
202.484.2200, ext.107
jbair@namamillers.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. – November 5, 2002 – The North American Millers’ Association (NAMA) praises the recent announcement by the Biotechnology Industry Association (BIO) that its members are committing to moving the production of plant-made pharmaceuticals and industrial products not intended for food or feed out of the U.S.’ major corn-growing regions.

“BIO has done the right thing, and we thank them for it,” said NAMA chairman John Gillcrist. “Although NAMA supports biotechnology, our members are also very concerned about the use of food crops like corn for the production of pharmaceuticals and industrial products. As the gatekeepers between the field and the consumer, the liability is just too big for us to ignore.”

On October 1, 2002 NAMA released its statement including recommendations for strengthening the regulatory regimen for using biotechnology-based plants to produce pharmaceuticals and industrial products. Those recommendations include: an expansion of physical confinement systems to guarantee a 100 percent effective isolation from like commodities used in food and feed; mandatory liability insurance coverage to indemnify all downstream traders, handlers, processors and food manufacturers for the full cost of recall, destruction and brand degradation as a result of gene flow or other release of genetic material into the food or feed industries; and compliance and enforcement procedures that guarantee a zero level of contamination including the creation of a third party auditing system of compliance.

“We think the NAMA and BIO statements are supportive of agriculture and farmers. Since extremely few farmers will ever grow biopharmaceuticals and industrial products, we see our respective actions as being in the best interests of corn farmers, most of whom will never grow them,” said Gillcrist.

NAMA has 42 member companies operating 164 wheat, corn, oat and rye mills in 38 states and 150 cities. Its membership represents about 90% of the total U.S. capacity.

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To read NAMA’s statement, click here.

For background information on NAMA click here.

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