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Colorado GMO label law = $500 food tax

| | September 22, 2014

The Right to Know Colorado GMO proposition 105 mandates the labeling of GMO food products. Since consumers like to know what they eat, the idea of GMO labeling is appealing. However, the proposal is ill-conceived and poorly written. It creates more confusion than enlightenment, it will dramatically increase the costs of foods, and taxpayers will face huge legal bills defending the law.

A recent analysis of GMO labeling costs by two Cornell University scientists pegged the costs at $500 per family of 4 per year. Three similar studies carried out in California and Washington State have calculated price tags of $400-800. Why do we need to have mandatory GMO food labeling when voluntarily labeled non-GMO products are readily available?

The GMO food labeling law only requires information on whether a given product was produced by a GMO. It will not inform the consumer what type of genetic change has been made to the organism (has a new gene been added? has an existing gene been silenced or its activity been increased as in classic breeding? has the plant been “vaccinated” to fight viral diseases, or does it produce a toxin to kill corn borers, or a pheromone gas that drives away aphids?).

It will not provide information about the composition or the nutritional properties of the product, nor information about the amount of GMO product contained in the food. Finally, it will not inform the consumer whether the food contains genetically engineered molecules, or if – as in the case of refined sugar produced from GM sugar beets – it is free of GMO molecules.

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GMO labels a $500 food tax

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