June 24, 2012
This week the American Medical Association (AMA) voted to revise policy, recommending that foods made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have mandatory pre-market safety testing. In the battle against foods made with GMOs, we’ll take any bit of advancement as a small victory. But far more needs to be done.
The AMA held a meeting in Chicago to discuss the change, according to the Chicago Tribune . It was there that they voted on the policy, sending a clear signal to the Food and Drug Administration that more needs to be done to answer the calls of concerned consumers when it comes to GMO foods. Previously, the AMA has also voiced potential support for the labeling of GMOs .
As it stands, GMO foods are not subject to any testing or measures beyond what any other foods are. Instead, they are “simply encouraged to engage in a voluntary safety consultation” with the FDA prior to releasing a GMO food onto the market. While the general public isn’t privy to what goes on in these consultations, the FDAs stance on GMO foods would lead one to believe they are pretty unremarkable.
Some were hoping the AMA would come out in support of GMO labeling. More than one million Americans have signed a petition  on the Just Label It website, sending a clear message to the FDA that we want to know what’s in our food. Fifty countries worldwide have already passed such legislation, requiring GMO foods to be labeled as such.
“We wholeheartedly commend AMA for coming out in support of mandatory pre-market safety assessment of (genetically engineered) foods,” said Michael Hanson of the Consumers Union. But, are disappointed that the AMA did not also support mandatory labeling…Studies in the scientific literature have suggested that genetic engineering could introduce new food allergens, increase the levels of known allergens, raise or lower nutrient levels and have adverse effects on the animals that eat such foods.”
What hasn’t changed in AMA policy is their core belief that GMO foods are essentially no different than non-GMO foods.
The FDA has not commented on the AMA recommendations but did say, “New foods have an obligation under the Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act to ensure that the foods they offer consumers are safe and in compliance with applicable legal requirements. In meeting their obligation, firms do conduct premarket safety testing.”
True, companies are required to ensure food safety. But they aren’t required to use objective research. In other words, it’s their own scientists who are being paid to provide a safety evaluation. Can you guess whose side these scientists are on? Yes, likely the ones signing their paychecks.
If you haven’t already, take a moment to sign the Just Label It campaign petition  and tell the FDA you GMO food labeled.
This post first appeared at Natural Society