How GMO Labeling Will Benefit Food Companies

Thursday, September 3, 2015

 

Labeling food that contains genetically engineered ingredients, or GMOs, can help a company’s bottom line, reduce risk and build trust with consumers, an MIT researcher says.

In a Wall Street Journal commentary, Alexis H. Bateman argues that consumer demand for disclosure of GMO foods will continue to increase and that being open about it is in a company’s best interest:

Uncertainty over the trustworthiness of supply chains erodes consumer trust, a trend that should concern any enterprise. Companies should recognize that great supply-chain transparency can allay consumer fears and capture commercial benefits.

Bateman is director of the Responsible Supply Chain Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for Transportation and Logistics. She points to legislation that recently passed the House of Representatives – dubbed by consumer advocates as the “Deny Americans the Right to Know,” or DARK, Act– that would effectively block the Food and Drug Administration from requiring GMO labeling nationwide. Even worse, it would  take away the right of states to enact their own GMO labeling laws.

Besides improving relationships with customers, Bateman says, labeling could save companies money by forcing them to take a close look at their supply chains, showing where they could become more efficient. It could also help ensure an unbroken supply and improve relationships with vendors, both of which reduce a company’s risk. She says smart companies will not only oppose the DARK Act, but get ahead of the game by acting on their own now:

 . . . [B]usinesses should understand that pressure to improve supply chain transparency will continue to increase. The legislation that the U.S. House approved in July now awaits action by the U.S. Senate. But companies that respond now can improve their operations and save themselves costly damage to their reputations and business prospects in the future.

 

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