As the deadline nears for companies to comply with Vermont’s GMO labeling, Big Food and Big Ag lobbyists are making increasingly desperate claims about the impact of mandatory labeling of foods with genetically modified ingredients.
Tomorrow, the National Academy of Sciences will release a report on GMO crops. We’re hoping it will bust some of the myths being circulated by labeling opponents such as Monsanto:
- State GMO labeling laws will create a “patchwork” quilt of regulation. All state GMO labeling laws are virtually identical and can be satisfied with the same simple “produced with genetic engineering” disclosure.
- GMO labels will act as a warning. A recent study based on five years of consumer data found that Americans view a GMO label as more information, not a warning.
- GMO labeling will increase food prices. Food companies change their labels all the time, so adding a GMO disclosure will not increase prices. The Washington Post's Fact Checker blog gave the food industry three Pinocchios for making the claim.
- GMO labels are for “foodies.” Polls show 90 percent of Americans, – regardless of income, want the right to know whether their food has been derived from genetic engineering.
- High-tech gimmicks will work. Asking consumers to scan QR codes or other digital gimmicks without including a GMO disclosure on the package will create more confusion, not less. Polls show Americans want a disclosure on the package, not just high-tech alternatives.
- GMO labels will shift jobs overseas. Food companies will not move their processing plants to other countries to source non-GMO ingredients. Why? Because studies show consumers will not demand a fully non-GMO supply chain.
- GMO labels are bad for farmers. Vermont’s new law will not ban the use of GMO crops. Plus, farmers already segregate GMO and non-GMO crops to serve markets at home and abroad.
- GMO crops will feed the world. Yields of conventional crops are keeping pace with yields of GMO crops, and there are more effective ways to meet long-term food security needs than betting on biotechnology.
- We have been genetically engineering food for centuries. GMO crops are novel foods that cannot be created through traditional crossbreeding.