April 24, 2014

American Medical Association Considers Labels on Genetically Engineered Food

truth in labeling coalition American Medical Association Considers Labels on Genetically Engineered Food

Fairfield, IA – May 23, 2012—The Indiana State Medical Association and the Illinois State Medical Society have both introduced resolutions to the American Medical Association supporting Federal legislation and/or regulations to require labeling of food with genetically engineered ingredients [1] The Reference Committee for Science and Technology is accepting comments from AMA membership until June 3 prior to hearing testimony at the House of Delegate’s annual meeting in Chicago June 17.

Resolution #508 A-11, introduced by the Illinois Delegation, asks that the AMA study the impact of food containing genetically engineered ingredients and take further action based on the results of the study. Resolution 509-A-11, introduced by the Indiana Delegation, asks that the AMA study the impact of mandated labeling of food containing genetically engineered ingredients and take further action based on the results of the study. Both resolutions were referred at the 2011 annual meeting to the AMA Council on Science and Public Health, which released its report last week. [2]

Dr. John Fagan, who plans to testify on behalf of the Indiana State Medical Association, cautions: “There is a vital need for more emphasis on the role of independent research in regulatory decision making and public health policy.” A Cornell University Ph.D. who spent seven years doing research in high-profile laboratories at the National Cancer Institute, Fagan returned a $614,000 grant to the National Institutes of Health in an ethical stand against genetic engineering – protesting what he saw as “rampant and unwise genetic tinkering with plants and animals.”[3]

“There has been global agreement that genetically engineered foods are different than conventionally bred foods,” states Dr. Michael Hansen, Senior Scientist for Consumer Reports, in a March report submitted to the AMA Council on Science and Public Health. [4] Hansen testified before the Indiana State Medical Association when the resolution passed the Indiana House of Delegates in 2011.

Codex Alimentarius, the food safety standards organization of the United Nations adopted 2011 guidelines recommending all genetically engineered foods to go through a safety assessment prior to approval. [5] Currently, companies that sell genetically engineered foods in the U.S. are not required by Food and Drug Administration to conduct thorough health studies before putting their products on the market.

“Tracking the millions of people with vulnerable immune systems and their reaction to novel proteins and virus fragments in genetically engineered food is impossible without food labeling,” warns Dr. Martha Herbert, a pediatric neurologist and past vice-chair of the Council on Responsible Genetics. [6]

The American Public Health Association, [7] the American Nurses Association, [8] the Illinois Public Health Association, [9] and the California State Medical Association [10] have already passed resolutions calling for labeling of genetically engineered food.

[1.] www.ama-assn.org/assets/meeting/2011a/tab-ref-comm-e-addendum.pdf AMA Resolutions #508 (Illinois) & 509 (Indiana)
[2.] www.ama-assn.org/assets/meeting/2012a/a12-csaph-02.pdf AMA House of Delegates A-11 Reference Committee Report F; June 18 – 23, 2011
[3] Seattle Times, Nov.18, 1994; Researcher Gives Back His $614,000 Grant, Quits As `Gene Jockey’ community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19941118&slug=1942559
[4] Hansen M, “Reasons for Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods,” March 19, 2012 At: www.consumersunion.org/pdf/AMA-GE-resolutions-3-19-12.pdf
[5] Guideline for the Conduct of Food Safety Assessment of Foods Derived from Recombinant-DNA Plans (CAC/GL 45, 2003). At: www.codexalimentarius.net/web/standard_list.do?lang=en
[6] Kimbrell A. “Your Right to Know: Genetic Engineering and the Secret Changes in Your Food.” Earth Aware Editions. 2007: p. 19
[7] American Public Health Association Policy Statement Database. “Support of the Labeling of Genetically Modified Foods.” Available from: www.apha.org/advocacy/policy/policysearch/default.htm?id=250
[8] House of Delegates Resolution: “Healthy food in health care.” Silver Spring, MD: American Nurses Association. 2008. Available from:http://www.nursingworld.org/MemberCenterCategories/ANAGovernance/HODArchives/2008HOD/ActionsAdopted/HealthyFoodinHealthCare.aspx
[9] Illinois Public Health Association Resolution No. 3, 2011, Labeling of Foods Containing Genetically Engineered Ingredients At: www.ipha.com/Public/ContentArticle.aspx?type=Policy_Resolution
[10] 2002 California Medical Association House of Delegates Resolution HOD 107-02 LABELING OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS: RESOLVED: That CMA support accurate labeling requirements for foods, including genetically modified foods, by appropriate regulatory agencies.

Full Press Release Here: http://www.truthinlabelingcoalition.org/AMA%20CONSIDERS%20LABELS%20ON%20GE%20FOOD.pdf

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