Are GMO Labels a “Warning?”

Will consumers view a GMO label on food packages as a “warning?”

Opponents of GMO labeling contend a modest disclosure on the back of a food package would be taken as a warning and cause consumers to demand non-GMO products.

But a new study, based on five years of consumer data, shows that GMO labeling would not scare consumers.

The research, presented at the annual conference of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, found no evidence that GMO labels change people’s attitudes about genetically engineered foods – often called GMOs – in either a positive or negative way. The study was led by Professor Jane Kolodinsky at the University of Vermont.

The new report comes on the heels of earlier studies showing that consumers look for one or two food attributes – like calories or price – and tend to disregard the rest of the information on food labels.

As EWG noted last week, GMO labeling opponents are recycling myths about labeling and food prices to build support for the DARK Act, a bill passed by the House of Representatives that would block mandatory state GMO labeling. The legislation now goes to the Senate.

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