Mark Edelman, professor of economics at Iowa State University, and Barry Flinchbaugh, emeritus professor of agricultural economics at Kansas State University, debate what GMO labeling policies should be.
Edelman: Many policy topics seem to cycle in public discourse every few years. Food science and labeling seems to be one of those topics. Vermont policymakers reportedly have been debating a bill to require mandatory labeling of foods made with Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Maine and Connecticut passed similar bills but contain a trigger clause requiring other states to pass such laws before they are enacted. Vermont’s bill would have immediate impact because it doesn’t have a trigger clause.
Flinchbaugh: My favorite line on local food labeling is it works fine until you want a chocolate covered banana for dessert. This is of course personal, since I am diabetic and have stents in my arteries. For me, sugar and saturated fat are crucial information on the label. I really do not give a damn about GMOs or Country-of-Origin-Labeling (COOL). I want labels to tell me something important to my health — COOL and GMOs do not. The problem is everyone wants something different. Anytime we stray from a science-based health and safety standard, society falls into a quagmire with no guiding policy principle.
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