Tuesday, May 19, 2015

GMO labeling? Consumers should get the information they want, agricultural economists say

The question of whether or not genetically modified organisms should be labeled rests on one concept: what the consumers want to know, not what the producers think they should know, agricultural economists Daryll E. Ray and Harwood D. Schaffer of the University of Tennessee write for the Daily Yonder.

In February, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture announced its support of regulating GMO labeling nationally instead of leaving the decision up to each state. Representative Mike Pompeo of Kansas introduced a bill titled The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015, which "would establish a federal labeling standard for foods with genetically modified ingredients, giving sole authority to the Food and Drug Administration to require mandatory labeling on such foods if they are ever found to be unsafe or materially different from foods produced without GM ingredients."

Regardless of one's opinions about whether or not GMOs are risky to consume, it's important to remember that "it really comes down to responding to what consumers want to know about their food, not to what 'the maker of the food' or 'the producer of the product' would prefer to tell them," the economists write. "In market economies, consumers are always in charge and ultimately get what they want." (Read more)

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