Earlier this year, Representative Karen Clark and Senator John Marty introduced a GMO labeling bill that would mandate the labeling of foods that contain GM ingredients by companies producing and distributing such foods in Minnesota. However, in an op-ed in the Minnesota Daily, college student Ronald Dixon hits the nail on the head with his arguments as to why this bill is unnecessary and would actually do more harm than good.
First, he points out that, according to an ABC News poll, Americans are skeptical of GMO foods and that if foods were labeled as containing GMOs, they would not purchase those foods. However, he goes further saying, there is a divide between the American people and the scientific community with regards to the safety of genetically modified food consumption. This divide was highlighted by a quiz that appeared in the New York Times earlier this month showing that most consumers are ignorant about what GMO ingredients are already out there in the marketplace. Therefore , labels would hurt producers and consumers: Companies would lose money as consumers stopped buying their products, and consumers would be spending more money on more expensive, GMO free foods (ie organic), because the labels led them to believe non-GMO foods were better .
Dixon goes a step further, arguing that because GMO labeling laws are not universal across the country, businesses would no longer produce and sell in Minnesota as their products would be worth more in other states.
ACSH s Ariel Savransky adds, As we have said many times before and as Dixon points out in his op-ed, labeling would create more confusion among the public and would deter individuals from purchasing GM foods because they are not aware of the science. These labeling laws are not based on fact, but rather on unjustified fears that GMO foods are dangerous to health. The science does not support this claim. Instead of continuing to propose such labeling laws, we should focus on educating consumers about GMOs.
For scientifically sound information on GMOs and agriculture, see ACSH s publications on the subject available here.