Consumers are confused between foods labeled as “organic” and “non-genetically modified,” according to a new study led by a University of Florida professor. In fact, researchers found that some consumers view the two labels as synonymous.
When Congress approved the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard in June 2016, lawmakers allowed companies two years – until June 2018 – to label their genetically modified (GM) food by text, symbol or an electronic digital link such as a QR code. The QR code is a machine-readable optical label that displays information when scanned.
Besides QR codes, companies can label GM foods by adding words like: “contains genetically modified ingredients” in plain text on the packages, said Brandon McFadden, a UF/IFAS assistant professor of food and resource economics, and lead author of the study.
Participants’ responses led McFadden to conclude that consumers don’t distinguish definitions of the two food labels.
Study results showed consumers are willing to pay more for genetically modified food if the information is provided by a QR code.
[Editor’s note: Read the full study (behind paywall)]
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