GMO labeling case is not based on science

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The movement to label foods containing genetically modified organisms is based on bad information and flies in the face of scientific reason.

Connecticut lawmakers fed into the misconceptions and misinformation surrounding GMOs during the 2013 legislative session by passing GMO labeling legislation. Thankfully, the trigger clause provision and smart decisions by surrounding states like Massachusetts and New York to reject similar bill proposals has kept this flawed legislation from being implemented.

If state legislatures continue to pass bills that support the anti-science agenda, we will end up with a patchwork of unnecessary regulations that stand to negatively impact the food industry and ultimately hit consumers where it hurts most—in their wallets.

Every step of the food production process could be forced to comply with different labeling rules for different states, which will raise costs and likely result in a reduction of available products. This could be especially true in places where food availability is already an issue—like urban and rural settings.

A 2014 study by Prof. Bill Lesser from Cornell University’s Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management found that if mandatory labeling laws are put into effect in states across the Northeast, the average family of four would face an increase in their household food costs of approximately $500 a year.

$500 a year? For what? For a label that is unnecessary, does little to inform consumers, but does plenty to confuse and potentially scare them away from perfectly safe products. Even in today’s improving economy no one should be forced to spend extra money to get nothing of value in return.

For those who choose to avoid GMO’s — that’s clearly their right, but they don’t have the right to increase costs for the rest of us.

The science is clear. GMOs are safe. The technology used to develop GMO crops makes it so those crops use less water, fewer pesticides and produce a more robust yield.   GMO products are identical to traditionally farmed products nutritionally and from a safety standpoint.

A label for those who chose to avoid GMOs already exists — any food that is labeled “organic” cannot contain GMOs.

That is why labeling of products containing GMOs is unnecessary, redundant and is nothing more than a marketing tactic of the organic food industry, who simply want to gain more market share by scaring uninformed consumers.

Rick Zimmerman is the executive director of the Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance. 

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