GMO labeling bill good for both environment and the poor


Co-PI David JustFollowing the passsage of thebipartisan Roberts-Stebenow bill on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) labeling on food, allowing food containing GMOs to be labeled using so-called “smart labels” — QR (Quick Response) codes that lead to full information on contents, CBEAR co-PI David Just and CBEAR Fellow Harry Kaiser wrote an op-ed in The Hill urging the US House of representatives to also pass the bill, which they did on Thursday, July 14, 2016.

In part due to the positive impacts that GMO foods have for the environment and the poor, Just and Kaiser argue that requiring labeling of GMO foods on the package would negatively stigmatize consumers as the “warning type label  is designed to provide just enough information to scare the uninformed, and is not based on any sound science…Researchers showed that using warning-type labels that have phrase like “contains” or “free of” implicitly casts rival products in a negative light and leads consumers to stigmatize and shun these product even when there is no evidence of them doing harm to human health.”

Just and Kaiser cite the Council on Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) Issue Paper from 2015, co-authored by CBEAR co-Director Kent Messer, Shawna Bligh, Marco Costanigro and CBEAR fellow Harry Kaiser, on “Process Labeling of Food: Consumer Behavior, the Agricultural Sector and Policy Recommendations.”

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