[Editor’s note: Kent Messer is a professor at the University of Delaware.]
As a behavioral economist, I analyze what motivates people and how organizations, governments, and businesses influence individual choice. And when it comes to how consumers make their choices regarding food, it’s clear that fear is a big factor.
One area where the use of these types of fear-based, “free from” labels is rapidly coming to a head is in the labeling of GMOs in the dairy industry. Last year, yogurt-maker Dannon trumpeted its plans to transition to only GMO-free feed for the cows producing its product, saying that they want to provide consumers with a more “natural” choice, even though the science clearly shows that milk from cows fed GMO-feed is no different than those fed the GMO-free variety.
Dannon even acknowledges this reality and is using this fact, outside the public eye, in an attempt to get a lawsuit against them dismissed.
While the safety of GMOs is clear – with the vast majority of scientists confirming that genetically modified foods are safe – confusion and mistrust continues to reign among consumers. That’s thanks in large part to the current “wild west” of front-of-package food labeling that has allowed for a tidal wave of misinformation and scare tactics regarding the technology.
The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Fear-based food labels do far more harm than good