Opponents of genetically modified food claim that their demand for labeling is only intended to provide choice for consumers. In truth, as many of them have said, they hope that labels will scare people away from buying such products and kill GMO technology itself. But a new survey suggests that by giving consumers choice, labels might actually reassure, and encourage sales, more than scare and dissuade.
The monthly Food Demand Survey by Jayson Lusk at Oklahoma State asks several questions about labeling and choice that I proposed to Lusk, based on the risk perception research of Paul Slovic and others who have found that when we engage in a potential risk voluntarily, the very fact that we are taking a possible risk by choice makes the risk feel less scary. Slovic’s research on risk perception has also established that if we trust the government agencies that are supposed to protect us, we’ll be less afraid, which suggests that a government/FDA label should also reassure, since we trust FDA food labels in general. Lusk asked about that too.
Lusk asked whether “requiring mandatory labels on genetically modified food would increase the confidence I have in the safety of genetically engineered food. On a scale of 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree) a majority of respondents (3.49) said that labels would reassure. And he asked whether “the presence of a ‘contains genetically engineered ingredients label,’ by providing choice, would encourage me to consider buying a product.” A slight majority (3.14) said yes.
The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: GMO Labels Could Reassure Consumers More Than Scare Them Away