Senator Roberts is pushing a bill that would prevent Vermont’s GMO labeling bill from taking effect this July, a move Roberts says is needed to prevent “billions of dollars of added cost to Americans’ food.” He says that every American would need to pay an additional $1,050 a year for food as the result of changes stemming from the Vermont labeling law.
But that figure comes from a study that calculated the cost of banning GMOs. According to a research paper from the Corn Refiners Association, prohibiting GMOs from the American food supply would cost $81.9 billion annually.
According to that same study, published February 2016, the corn refiners-funded study actually found that nationwide labeling of genetically-engineered food would cost Americans a one-time total of $7 each.
The consumer advocacy group Consumer’s Union in 2014 put the cost of labeling genetically-modified foods at around $2.30 per American per year. That total, itself, is the result of a review of several other studies, many also funded by industry.
And as Food and Water Watch reports (4/11/16):
While groups like the Corn Refiners Association—which represents biotech companies like Cargill—have a vested interest in selling more GMOs, a study conducted by an independent consulting firm for the U.K. Food Standards Agency found that GMO labeling would only increase a family’s food costs by $.33 to $5.58 a year.
Talk of dire impacts on the food supply due to four simple words being included on labels is nothing more than scaremongering. GMO labeling laws do not require manufacturers to reformulate their ingredients. If that’s what the market demands once we have labeling transparency, that’s the market working.
In reality, if a transparent market drives manufacturers to reformulate, they will eat the cost of reformulation (pun intended) before they raise prices for consumers. Raising prices will cause them to lose an even greater market share to traditional food manufacturers.
If a given manufacturer doesn’t know exactly what they’re putting in our food, then they can label it “may contain genetically engineered ingredients.” If this impacts their sales significantly, the manufacturer will invest in more advanced supply chains over time. Again, this would be the market working.
GMO labeling removes the unfair market advantage that GMO manufacturers currently have. It will even the playing field with traditional food manufacturers. This is why the chemical and junk food companies are spending countless millions to deny consumers four simple words which are important to them.