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Crop Biotech Update

Study Shows Labeling Reduced GMO Food Fears

July 4, 2018

A new study from the University of Vermont (UVM) reveals that a simple disclosure can improve consumer attitudes toward food products containing genetically engineered (GE) ingredients.

On July 1, 2016, a Vermont law requiring labels on all foods containing GE ingredients or genetically modified organisms (GMOs) went into effect. But the labels were required only until July 27, 2016, when a federal law superseded it.

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 impact of consumer attitudes toward GMO foods where consumers were exposed to mandatory labels.

Kolodinsky's study, co-authored by Jayson Lusk of Purdue University's Department of Agricultural Economics, suggests that a simple, straightforward label disclosing whether a product is "produced or partially produced using GMO ingredients" may improve consumer confidence in GMO technologies and enable consumers to make an informed decision.

More details are available in the news articles from University of Vermont and Purdue University.