The American Medical Association adopted a formal statement this week explicitly opposing the mandatory labeling of genetically modified (GM) foods.
The AMA also adopted a report reaffirming that there is no evidence to suggest that the genetic modification process presents any unique safety issues.
In the words of the AMA statement: “Our AMA believes that as of June 2012, there is no scientific justification for special labeling of bioengineered foods, as a class, and that voluntary labeling is without value unless it is accompanied by focused consumer education.”
The AMA report is consistent with the findings of a majority of respected scientists, medical professionals and health experts, including a 1987 National Academy of Sciences white paper that concluded there is no evidence that genetically modified foods pose any health risks. The AMA’s report also reaffirms the council’s policy recommendation in a December 2000 report stating “there is no scientific justification for special labeling of genetically modified foods.”
Research is underway to develop biotech versions of traditional African crops even as major crops such as corn are being adopted on the continent, according to the executive director of AfricaBio, a stakeholders association.
Nutrient enhancement and desirable traits such as drought resistance are being developed, along with resistance to insect pests and weed killers, Dr. Nompumelelo Obokoh told a session at the BIO International Convention here Monday.
“Improvement projects are underway in at least seven countries,” Dr. Obokoh said. Crops under development include cassava, sweet potato, bananas, cowpeas, rice and sorghum, she said.
READ MORE »
According to a Chinese study recently published in Nature, biotech cotton designed to resist crop-damaging insects has demonstrated some unexpected environmental benefits. Because farmers who plant the biotech cotton are able to use fewer chemicals to control pests, beneficial insects that feed on crop-damaging aphids are more likely to thrive and contribute further to protecting the cotton plants. The study, based on 20 years of data from northern China, was led by the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing. Read more.
A group of agricultural and scientific organizations praised President Obama for expressing his Administration’s support of “food security, agricultural production and science-based regulation” during the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ G8 discussion entitled “Advancing Food and Nutrition Security.”
In a letter to the President, signed by 38 national organizations representing major sectors of agriculture and science, the groups emphasized that “agricultural innovation, including modern biotechnology, will be necessary to ensure farmers have the tools they need to produce safe and nutritious food, in addition to feed, fuel and fiber, in an environmentally sound and sustainable manner.”
The experts committed to collaborating with the Administration to ensure that agricultural production and scientific innovations help feed a growing world population, which is expected to reach nine billion by 2040. Read the full letter here.
Richard Cornett of the Western Plant Health Association notes that if California passes legislation this November mandating labeling of all GM foods, food producers throughout the country will suffer from steep costs.
If the labeling initiative becomes law, nearly 80 percent of the food in California’s grocery stores will need to be labeled. Food companies will be required either to develop California-only packaging or simply change their packaging altogether, a process that would be extremely expensive and time-consuming. Read more.