It’s been less than a week since Vermont’s law requiring the mandatory labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMO) went into effect, but a new study shows it might have some problems.
The survey of more than 1,600 online primary shoppers—conducted by the MSR Group and sponsored by the American Soybean Association, the Corn Refiners Association, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Grain and Feed Association and SNAC International—revealed consumers often perceived the on-pack labels to indicate a product was less safe, less healthful, less nutritious and worse for the environment. Additionally, the survey showed approximately 73 percent of consumers indicated they would be less likely to buy foods bearing one of the required on-pack GMO label disclosures like those in Vermont.
– 36 percent of consumers to incorrectly perceive the food to be “less safe.”
– 28 percent of consumers to incorrectly perceive the food to be “less healthful.”
– 22 percent of consumers to incorrectly perceive the food to be “less nutritious.”
– 20 percent of consumers to incorrectly perceive the food to be “worse for the environment.”
– 73 percent of consumers to be less likely to buy the food.
“The survey demonstrates that the Vermont on-pack GMO labeling law that is effectively setting GMO labeling policy for interstate commerce is misleading to consumers and powerfully disparaging of a safe, environmentally appropriate technology,” the associations sponsoring the survey say.
While the survey did not test specific GMO disclosure options under the proposed in the federal GMO labeling bill that was recently introduced in the U.S. Senate, the bill would provide companies the ability to disclose the use of GMOs through the use of a text label, a symbol or a link to a website via technology such as a QR code. The associations say this option would “allow food companies to include informative statements that educate, rather than mislead, consumers. Since the Roberts Stabenow compromise is the only viable legislative option to preempt the Vermont GMO labeling law, the survey results strongly suggest support for the Roberts Stabenow compromise.”