Scientific Community Weighs in on GMO Labeling

Requiring special labeling for food products containing GMO ingredients could have a number of negative impacts according to a report released today by the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST).

“The Potential Impacts of Mandatory Labeling for Genetically Engineered Food in the United States” (CAST Issue Paper 54) examines arguments for and against labels, the costs involved with labeling, and experiences in countries that use mandatory labeling.

Led by Task Force Chair Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam (Department of Animal Science, University of California – Davis), the authors conclude the following:

  1. There is no science-based reason to single out GE foods and feeds for mandatory process-based labeling.
  2. Mandatory labeling based on process abandons the traditional U.S. practice of providing for consumer food preferences through voluntary product differentiation and labeling.
  3. Market-driven voluntary labeling measures are currently providing consumers with non-GE choices.
  4. Mandatory labeling could have negative implications for First Amendment rights and trade issues.
  5. Mandatory labeling would increase U.S. food costs.

The authors also concluded that policymakers and consumers need more independent objective information about the use of genetically engineered (GE) products in agriculture and food production to facilitate a more fact-based, informed debate.

CAST is an international consortium of scientific and professional societies, companies, and nonprofit organizations. It assembles, interprets, and communicates credible science-based information regionally, nationally, and internationally to legislators, regulators, policymakers, the media, the private sector, and the public.

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