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
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.