Home pagePress monitoringMandatory labels reduce GMO food fears

Mandatory labels reduce GMO food fears

Date: 11.7.2018 

As the U.S. Department of Agriculture prepares guidelines for labeling products that contain genetically modified ingredients, a new study from the University of Vermont reveals that a simple disclosure can improve consumer attitudes toward GMO food. 
Kredit: Sally McCay, UVM Photo.

Led by Jane Kolodinsky, an applied economist in UVM's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the study compared levels of consumer opposition to GMO foods in Vermont—the only U.S. state to have implemented a mandatory labeling policy—with consumer attitudes in the rest of the U.S. The analysis showed opposition to GMO food fell by 19% in Vermont after the implementation of mandatory labels. The study is the first to examine the real-world impact of consumer attitudes toward GMO foods in a state where consumers were exposed to mandatory GMO labels.

"Our findings put to bed the idea that GMO labels will be seen as a warning label," said Kolodinsky, professor and chair of the Department of Community Development and Applied Economics. "What we're seeing is that simple disclosures, like the ones implemented in Vermont, are not going to scare people away from these products."

The research provides timely new evidence in a longstanding national debate over the impact of mandatory GMO labeling policies on consumer attitudes. Several studies, including past research by Kolodinsky, show consumers consistently express a desire for labels on GMO foods, but mandatory labeling has been opposed by some manufacturers and scientific organizations for fear that the labels would be perceived as warning signs and might signal that a product is unsafe or harmful to the environment.

Despite numerous scientific studies that have shown that GMO foods are safe, nationwide, the majority of consumers express opposition to the use of GMO technologies, a trend that has been steadily increasing over the past decade.

 


 

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