The American Medical Association recently adopted a “trust but verify” policy with regard to genetically modified foods. The AMA maintained its existing view that the government should not mandate the labeling of food products with “genetically modified” ingredients. “There is no scientific justification for special labeling of bioengineered foods, as a class, and …voluntary labeling is without value unless it is accompanied by focused consumer education,” an AMA statement read in part.
The AMA voted, however, to support “mandatory pre-market systematic safety assessments of bioengineered food.” Presently, most food companies engage in voluntary safety consultations with the Food and Drug Administration before releasing new bioenineered plants on the market.
According to one source:
This both-sides-of-the-fence position on the issue stemmed from a contentious … debate during a reference committee meeting, at which some AMA members called for mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods, while others maintained there isn’t enough science to show such foods pose any risks to human health.
The AMA’s policy on consumer education and not painting all GMO foods with the same broad brush are compelling points. Misinformation about GMO foods being inherently unhealthy has gained credibility simply because it is repeated by various sources. Indeed, a recent report on the ABC News website titled “Seven ‘Health’ Foods That Aren’t Healthy” lists allegedly phony “health claims” relating to Nutella, hot dogs and — amazingly — Kashi’s GoLean cereal. The latter is included simply because it is labeled as “all natural” but purportedly includes genetically engineered soy, with no reason given for the assertion that this product is “unhealthy” (or less healthy than non-GMO soy).