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Latest Poll Shows Consumers Have
a Big Appetite For GMO Labeling
Anew poll reports a large majority of Americans support putting labels on genetically modified foods, whether or not they care to eat them. Philadelphia resident Jay Jaffe, for example, told the Associated Press in a recent article that
although he supports the labeling, if a food product contains GMOs and is cheaper and tastes better, he
would likely purchase the item.
The Associated Press-GfK survey of 1,010 adults was conducted online Dec. 4-8, using a sample drawn from
the GfK’s probability-based Knowledge Panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population.
According to the results, 66 percent of Americans are in favor of requiring food manufacturers to label
any products that contain genetically modified organisms — better known as GMOs. Only 7 percent are
opposed to the idea, and 24 percent are “neutral” on the matter.
Yet, only 40 percent of respondents said the presence of GMOs in their foods was
considered “very” or “extremely important” to them.
And of those who say it is only “moderately important” to them if a food contains
GMOs, 68 percent are still in favor of labeling them.
According to an Associated Press article by Mary Clare Jalonick, that statistic is higher
than the number of consumers who say it’s important to know whether a food is organic.
In the article, the AP asks Andrew Chan, 41-year-old Seattle resident, about his
thoughts surrounding the labeling initiative.
While Chan said he is in favor of labeling GMOs in food products, he said his top
concern is really the amount of processed foods on the market.
“GMO ingredients aren’t the number one thing, but more than likely within a processed food I’d find
something that is a genetically modified product,” Chan said.
Chan is not alone in his support of the initiative. More and more consumers are turning to natural and
organic offerings of the same food. For many, the debate over GMOs is about the food industry overall.
But according to Reuters, a majority of U.S. packaged food labeled as “natural” and tested by
Consumer Reports actually contained a substantial level of genetically modified ingredients.
Consumers, it seems, are being misled by the “natural” and “organic” label. But would a ban on all
GMOs fix the problem? Not necessarily.
I don’t believe consumers are looking for an all-out ban on the ingredients, but more so transparency of
their food products. In today’s health-conscious world, knowing what your food and beverages are made
of is of great importance to the everyday consumer.
As of late, the Food and Drug Administration does not yet require labeling of GMOs, but advocates who back
the initiative say shoppers have the right to know what is in their food. Label supporters argue that not enough is
known about their effects on the human body.
Currently, much of country’s corn and soybean crop is genetically modified. Genetically modified seeds
are engineered to incorporate certain traits, like resistance to herbicides, for example. Modified corn and
soybeans are then made into the all-popular ingredients found in processed foods: corn oil, high-fructose
corn oil, soybean oil and corn starch.
Although the U.S. has not required a nationwide label law on GMOs, many states are hoping to pass
laws of their own. Last year, Vermont became the first state to require the labels. The law will take effect
mid-2016, so long as it survives any legal challenges.
But despite the wide public support, many state efforts have faltered as the food industry and seed companies
like Monsanto have aggressively fought the attempts to force GMO labeling.
California, Washington and Oregon included the initiative on state ballots, but the labeling supporters
were narrowly defeated. And any other states who began a ballot measure on the labels were quickly
defeated by food industry giants.
Many food manufacturers are under constant pressure from their retailers as consumer awareness of
GMOs has drastically increased in recent years. Whole Foods, for example, plans to label its GMO products
in all of its U.S. and Canada stores by 2018.
Is the need for transparency affecting your company’s profits? If a GMO labeling law were passed in
your state, how would you feel? Feel free to reach out at email@example.com u