Want to Increase Food Insecurity in New York? Label GMOs!

Farmer Gene

In January 2014, the New York GMO Labeling Bill A.3525 was introduced to require that food or food products containing a genetically modified material or that are produced with a genetically modified material to be labeled.

According to www.feedingamerica.org, “one in six American consumers goes to bed hungry. One contributory factor being that food prices are too high.” If the GMO Labeling bill in New York were to pass, grocery costs would rise and the state would see a drastic decrease in consumer access to food, according to a newly released economics study.

Most notably, the two counties most affected by potential price increases in New York are the Bronx and Kings counties, because they have a higher percentage of foodinsecure individuals than other counties in the state. (www.feedamerica.org)

Professor William Lesser of Cornell University recently released his groundbreaking report examining how food costs in New York will dramatically increase should the pending GMO labeling bill be enacted. Here are some top line points from the report:

Cost for Consumers

  • Food costs will go up to New York consumers by an average of $500 per year for a family of four.
  • This comes out to be around $2.4 billion annually for state residents.

Application of the Law

  • The law would only apply to 40% of food items and exclude restaurant foods, livestock/products fed/treated with GM products (e.g., BST milk), alcohol, and organic products.
  • This only translates into 50% of food items in the supermarkets.

Costs of Compliance

  • LABEL: Costs of labeling existing products (includes warehouse, store costs).
    • Annual Family 4:       $64(L)           $66(Mid)        $68 (H)
  • NON-GM INGREDIENTS: Having to transition to non-GM ingredients. Means higher ingredient costs and keeping inputs separate.
    • Annual Family 4:       $44(L)           $228(Mid)      $412(H)
  • ORGANIC INGREDIENTS: Costs of using organics – much higher ingredient costs, separation required.
    • Annual Family 4:       $360(L)         $956(Mid)      $1,552(H)

Costs to the State

  • Cost to implement law and monitor: $1.6m;
  • Loss farm income cost: $5m;
  • Possible lawsuit liability cost: $8m; and
  • Some environmental loss: not computed but set at $1/person total.
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