The debate in the United States to increase consumer confidence about GMOs
Studies have found mandatory labeling laws will raise food costs for America’s families in the checkout aisle, impose unnecessary burdens on farmers and food producers and ultimately eliminate biotechnology from American agriculture
An increasingly discredited coalition of anti-GMO groups, led by Just Label It and the Environmental Working Group, went to Capitol Hill to join Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) in their misguided push for mandatory GMO labeling laws. Studies have found mandatory labeling laws will raise food costs for America’s families in the checkout aisle, impose unnecessary burdens on farmers and food producers and ultimately eliminate biotechnology from American agriculture.
“Mandatory labeling efforts mislead consumers about GMOs, which are perfectly safe, and represent a thinly veiled effort to remove modern biotechnology from American agriculture,” said Claire Parker, spokeswoman for the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food. “While mandatory labeling proponents say their movement is about consumer choice, the reality is that consumers already have those choices today and GMOs are among the most important tools that allow farmers and food producers to provide safe and affordable food choices to America’s families.”
Mandatory GMO labeling legislation backed by these anti-GMO groups and sponsored by DeFazio would needlessly impose higher costs and fewer choices on the families who can afford it the least. A recent study by economists at Cornell University estimated that additional costs to consumers could reach, on average, $500 per family per year, with some families bearing an increased cost of $1,500 per year. And because low-income families and seniors 65 or older spend a disproportionately large percentage of their incomes on food costs, higher food prices from mandatory labeling would impact them the most, according to a study by the Council for Agriculture Science and Technology.
The emerging consensus among America’s editorial boards, including DeFazio’s hometown paper, the Oregonian, is that responsible legislators should oppose efforts by anti-GMO groups to enact mandatory labeling laws, specifically when taking into consideration the harm caused when food labeling laws are based on ideology instead of science.
“The Coalition for Safe Affordable Food" told Claire Parker "applauds the leadership of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee for convening today’s hearing on the societal benefits of biotechnology. The hearing offers members of Congress and the American public an important opportunity to hear from representatives of the scientific community and other stakeholders about the vital role of biotechnology in our society. Since its development over thirty years ago, biotechnology has emerged as a critical tool in driving major health breakthroughs, lowering the price of food, promoting sustainable agriculture and empowering small farmers. The benefits for the American people have been clear and far-reaching, ranging from lower grocery costs in the supermarket checkout aisle, and research advances that could help people suffering from food allergens and digestive diseases, to lower input costs for small farmers. We hope that today’s hearing will lead to a clearer understanding of the contributions of biotechnology and underscore the need for Congress to pass the bipartisan Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, a common sense federal approach to food labeling that will promote consumer confidence in the safety of our food supply while affirming and protecting the critical promise of biotechnology.”