The American Medical Assoc. (AMA) adopted a formal statement on June 19 in opposition to the mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods. The formal statement read in part: “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.”

AMA has long-held that nothing about the process of recombinant DNA makes genetically engineered crop plants inherently more dangerous to the environment or to human health than the traditional crop plants that have been deliberately bred for human purposes for centuries. It is a view shared by the National Academy of Sciences, the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the European Commission, and other national science academies and non-governmental organizations.

The AMA announcement is timely, considering the California initiative on its ballot in November to require labeling ("The Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act"). AMA’s position should help the food industry, which opposes labeling. The food and biotech industries will spend an estimated $60-100 million on an advertising blitz to convince Californians that labeling is unnecessary, will hurt farmers, increase their food prices and even contribute to world hunger.