Should genetically modified foods be labeled by law?
California voters will decide by Proposition 37 on the upcoming ballot if foods utilizing genetic modification technology must be labeled as such.
"Sure, why not?" seems to be the knee-jerk reaction, but perhaps more is at stake than first appears.
Prof. Jason Lusk teaches Agricultural Economics and offers the following thoughts:
"Everyone wants to know what’s in their food. That issue is not at stake. The real question is how much consumers are willing to pay. . . and whether it makes sense to force companies to provide information. If consumers really value information about the biotech content of their food, there are plenty of opportunities for enterprising farmers and food manufacturers to provide the feedstuffs consumers want. . . . there is a small but healthy market for organic foods, which do not use genetically engineered ingredients. There are many products (for example, soy milk) on the grocery shelf that carry products with labels certifying the absence of genetically engineered ingredients.
Grocery stores like Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods advertise their private-labeled products as being made without genetically engineered ingredients. Each of these examples illustrates the free enterprise system working at its best." [ Prof. Lusk blogs at www.jasonlusk.com]
--The question for debate: Do you expect, and are you willing to pay for, mandatory clear and specific marking of foods that are produced using genetic modification technology?--
Closing Statement from edward long
Four votes for comprehensive, exhaustive food labeling and three against. A microcosm for sure. We will see how the voters of California feel about it. There is much more to the issue than we touched on here. Perhaps other similar conversations will arise soon.Thanks for the venue TED!