Evidence shows GMO labelling won’t increase food prices
1. Corn industry injects more fear into GMO labeling debate with false claims of higher food prices – Center for Food Safety
2. GMO labeling won’t increase food prices – EWG
1. Corn industry injects more fear into GMO labeling debate with false claims of higher food prices
Center for Food Safety, February 22, 2016
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Center for Food Safety today criticized a study being promoted by the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) regarding the cost of labeling genetically engineered (GE) foods. CRA’s study follows in a line of discredited industry funded studies that claim GE food labeling will raise food prices. Yet a report conducted on behalf of Consumers Union, the public policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, concluded that the median cost of labeling in the studies that provided relevant models was only $2.30 per person per year.
“The food industry is once again attempting to scare consumers and legislators in order to get their way,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director at Center for Food Safety. “Campbell’s Soup has announced it will label all of its GE products, at no added cost to the consumer. If a company like Campbell’s can take this step to label their food accurately, then there is no reason the rest of the industry can’t follow suit.”
In January, Campbell’s broke with the Grocery Manufacturers Association, which has long opposed mandatory GE food labeling and is currently under legal scrutiny for its multimillion dollar campaign to fight Washington State’s GE food labeling ballot initiative. The iconic soup company instead announced that in the interest of its consumers, it would label all of its products containing GE ingredients. In an interview with The New York Times, a Campbell’s spokesperson “noted that adoption of the 1990 Nutrition Labeling and Education Act, which required companies to add nutritional information to their labels, did not significantly raise costs.”
Opponents of mandatory GE labeling frequently cite significantly higher food costs as part of their rationale, however, the higher numbers they reference are based on the assumption that manufacturers will incur costs by switching to non-GE ingredients. This is a false assumption and should not be equated with labeling costs. Such a move would be the result of market pressures, not labeling mandates. 64 countries around the world require GE food labeling and have not reported higher food costs as a result.
In their executive summary, the researchers behind the Consumers Union study stated:
“Many studies consider possible market impacts (e.g., speculation regarding consumer behavioral changes), and other matters not directly related to the cost of designing and labeling a product as containing a GE ingredients. A number of these studies report estimates of food price impacts from scenarios in which companies subject to GE labeling requirements are assumed to reformulate their products to contain only organic ingredients. We did not consider such scenarios. Rather we approached the question as FDA did in its study of the cost impact of nutritional labeling. FDA states that its model does not consider reformulation costs as ‘they depend on marketing decisions and are impossible to predict. Moreover, they do not result directly from these proposed rules.’”
2. GMO labeling won’t increase food prices
By Scott Faber, Vice President of Government Affairs
EWG, 22 Feb 2016
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William James, the father of modern psychology, once said, “There's nothing so absurd, that if you repeat it often enough, people will believe it.”
This must be the strategy of genetically engineered, or “GMO,” labeling opponents who continue to falsely claim that labeling will cost the average family $500 a year.
This claim – based on a widely discredited “study” – is so bogus that the Washington Post’s Fact Checker gave it three Pinocchios.
Now the Corn Refiners Association – you know, the people who defend high fructose corn syrup – say that GMO labeling will cost an average family more than $1,000 a year.
The truth is, food companies change their labels all the time to highlight innovations or make new claims. Adding a few words to the back of the package as part of a routine label change will have no impact on the cost of making food, studies show.
It’s also the case that GMO labels will not act as a warning, as some farmer and food companies fear. In a recent study, two agricultural economists found that the mere presence of a GMO label did not increase consumer concern.
Two economists with the U.S. Department of Agriculture came to a similar conclusion after studying the behavior of consumers in countries that require GMO labeling. Their study found that most consumers make “hasty” choices in the grocery store and look only for one or two attributes – like price or calories.
Real-world experience tells us a lot.
In Brazil, where GMO food has carried a “transgenic” symbol since 2001, researchers found consumers were actually more likely to buy those foods. More importantly, food prices in Brazil – and the 64 other countries that have adopted GMO labeling – did not rise.
Sadly, the opponents of GMO labeling are making the same arguments made three decades ago to fight the Nutrition Facts Panel.
As Campbell’s CEO Denise Morrison recently said, adding the Nutrition Facts Panel to the package did not increase the price of food – and neither will GMO labels.