Roper: Look for the GMO label, they’re a selling point

By Rob Roper

A UVM study by economist Jane Kolodinsky came to a surprising conclusion about labeling GMO foods, a policy the Vermont left pushed and succeeded in passing in 2016. As the title of the UVM article explains, “Mandatory Labels Reduce GMO Food Fears.” Yup, reduce.

Rob Roper

Rob Roper is the president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

It’s hard not to chuckle a little at this news. The objective of mandating that GMO food products be labeled, despite plenty of scientific research showing GMOs to be perfectly safe, was to scare people into buying organic alternatives. Proponents of the labels thought they would be perceived as warnings. Turns out, they’re a selling point.

RELATED: VT organic farmer and GMO expert: Labels ‘like skull and crossbones’

As Kolodinsky, who has been tracking attitudes toward GMOs in Vermont for fifteen years, stated, “We’re finding that both in real-world and hypothetical studies, the introduction of a simple disclosure label can actually improve consumer attitudes toward these technologies. In a state that has been such a hot bed for GMO opposition, to see this change is striking.” And kind of funny, no?

One of the keys to a functioning free market is access to accurate information, so labeling GMO products as such is not a bad thing in itself, especially if this is information consumers really want to have. It was the punitive and disingenuous way the Vermont legislature that went about it that was so distasteful. At the time Vermont was debating this labeling, Ethan Allen Institute preferred allowing non-GMO products to voluntarily label their products as such as a positive selling point, rather than creating a government imposed mandate on their competitors. But, I guess it’s always more fun and easier to kneecap your competition instead of doing the hard work of sell your own wares on their own merits.

But, now that we know labeling GMO foods as such helps boost their appeal, maybe the next step for GMO food manufacturers should be to run a “Look for the GMO Label” advertising campaign. Highlight the benefits of GMO foods, like decreasing the need for chemical pesticides, creating higher yields from fewer acers, thus allowing for more natural preservation, and making food more affordable and more accessible to everybody.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Daniel Lobo
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2 thoughts on “Roper: Look for the GMO label, they’re a selling point

  1. The use of pesticides and herbicides have increased twofold since the use of GMO seeds. Most fodder corn grown in this state is GMO, the cows spend their life hold up a free stall barn eating fodder corn laced with Glyphosate (RoundUP) It is a know fact that Ice cream, milk and other products contain Glyphosate which is a know carcinogen. The food supply is now owned by Monsanto and Dow
    and the farmer who uses GMO corn seed can not glean seed from the crop but MUST buy the seed every year from Monsanto or Dow. The pesticides and herbicides drift when the spraying is conducted there are GMO corn fields less than 100 feet of residential structures, you can’t tell me the herbicide Glyphosate doesn’t coat their porches, decks and windows. There have been huge law suits in the Canadian Prairie Provinces against farmers who do not plant GMO crops yet there are portions of their fields with GMO canola or wheat. It is blatantly obvious that the seeds have blown or been transported by birds yet Monsanto and Dow use they deep pockets and lawyers to ruin the non-GMO farmers and tie them up in court. GMO crops do not produce increased yields, that is a fallacy. If anyone thinks the more than doubling of pesticides and herbicides is a good thing, needs to educate themselves y accessing the statistical data nationwide .I for one am against GMO engineering and access locally grown heritage seed products whenever I can.

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