Does GMO Labeling Cost Consumers?
Voters in Washington State have to decide Nov. 5 who to believe in the debate on a ballot initiative that requires grocers and food producers to label products with genetically engineered ingredients.
“It’s not that complicated,” says consumer advocate Patty Lovera of the challenge of labeling genetically-modified foods without passing on new costs at the grocery store. Lovera, the assistant director of Food & Water Watch, made her comments in a Washington Post video segment just days before voters in Washington State decide whom to believe in the debate on the latest GMO labeling initiative.
There may be tons of new products carrying a GMO label because they contain ingredients such as corn or soy beans that are commonly modified, but the burden is insignificant on industry, which reflexively pushes back against every effort to give more information to consumers, Lovera added.
"They have this information at the beginning of the process; we're just asking them to carry it through," she said.
Unfortunately for voters, it is a bit more complicated. Much of the research in Washington State and California, where residents narrowly voted down a similar measure last year, concluded that the cost of labeling genetically-engineered products isn’t from the act of stamping “Genetically-Modified Organism” across a can of beans—it’s from changing the production process to maintain purity and avoid the label, which history bears out. To be sure, though, there are detractors.
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