Regardless of whether it’s the feds or individual states that slap them on food, GMO labels wouldn’t scare off consumers, according to a study. The research, noted by fooddive.com, was presented at the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association meeting in July.
"When you look at consumer opposition to the use of GM technologies in food and account for the label, we found that overall the label has no direct impact on opposition. And it increased support for GM in some demographic groups," Jane Kolodinsky, author of the study and professor and chair of the Department of Community Development and Applied Economics at the University of Vermont, said in a fooddive.com brief.
"This was not what I hypothesized based on the reasoning behind the introduction of The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling bill,” she said. “We didn't find evidence that the labels will work as a warning." In fact, in some cases she found the opposite to be true among certain groups. The study analyzed five years of data and included responses from over 2,000 Vermont residents.
In "An Investigation of the Endogeneity of Attitudes Towards Genetic Modification and Demand for GM Food Labels," Kolodinsky said the findings provide evidence that in Vermont, GMO food labels would provide consumers with information on which to base their purchasing decisions.
Consumers who wish to avoid GMO ingredients would do so, she added, and those who either want GMO ingredients or are indifferent can also make that choice. "The label would not signal to consumers that GMO ingredients are inferior to those produced using other agricultural production methods," she said, as reported in foodmanufacturing.com.