Corn on the cob
Genetic engineering has led to improved varieties of corn and other crops.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) has commended the American Medical Association’s (AMA) House of Delegates for its vote in support of the continued use of GE ingredients in food and beverage products. According to GMA, this action is in accordance with the position of the US FDA and numerous regulatory and scientific bodies that agree foods and beverages containing GE ingredients are safe and materially no different than those foods that do not contain GE ingredients.

“Plant and animal biotechnology provides significant benefits to consumers,” says Pamela G. Bailey, GMA president and CEO. “It has led to improved varieties of corn, soybeans, fruit and other foods that grow faster and are resistant to insects, bacteria and viruses. Some genetically modified foods and beverages contain enhanced nutrition and health benefits.”

Because foods and beverages that contain GE ingredients are no different than those that do not, mandatory labeling of foods containing GE ingredients is unnecessary and may actually confuse consumers, according to GMA. Labeling information should be reserved for important food safety and/or nutrition information, such as allergen warnings or front-of-pack nutrition labeling, says the GMA statement.

“The use of GE ingredients in the food supply is based on a wealth of scientific research and evidence, and consumers can rest assured that all stakeholders—food companies, regulatory agencies, medical doctors and the scientific community—will continue to ensure the safety of the food supply,” adds Bailey.

When asked for his comments on the GMA/AMA position, Michael Jacobson, Center for Science in the Public Interest executive director, said: “To date, GE ingredients have been safe. Indeed, there are virtually no novel protein or DNA molecules in GE soybean or corn oil, cornstarch, high-fructose corn syrup and the like.” Jacobson added, “While it is critically important—to the public and also to seed companies and farmers—to guard against harm to health or the environment, humankind should take advantage of the benefits that biotechnology has begun providing.”