GE Labeling and Food Prices

Despite common industry concerns, there’s no evidence that requiring food manufacturers to label products that contain genetically engineered (GE) ingredients will increase food prices at the supermarket.

Check out our infographic debunking industry arguments that GE labeling will raise the price of food.

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According to a study conducted by recognized food-marketing expert Kai Robertson, changes to a food manufacturer’s product labels have not been found to affect the prices paid by shoppers.

Key findings in the study include the following:

In sum, Just Label It concludes that proposals to change labels of GE food will not affect retail prices paid by shoppers.

Click here to see a full copy of the study.

In addition to the independent study conducted by Kai Robertson, a variety of other studies have also found that labeling GE food will have a limited effect on food price. Here’s a rundown:

GE Foods Labeling Cost Study Findings
By Dr. Andrew Dyke and Robert Whelan, ECONorthwest
Consumers Union

Study conducted by the economic consulting firm ECONorthwest found that requiring GE food labels would cost a mere $2.30 per person per year, or less than a penny a day.

Economic Assessment: Proposed California Right-to-Know Genetically Engineered Food Act (Prop 37)
By Joanna M. Shepherd-Bailey, Ph.D., Emory University School of Law

Shepherd-Bailey’s assessment of potential costs associated with California’s failed Proposition 37 to require GE food labeling found little or no change in consumer food prices as a result of labeling.

Economic Assessment of Washington Initiative 522
By Joanna M. Shepherd-Bailey, Ph.D., Emory University School of Law

Shepherd-Bailey’s assessment of potential costs associated with Washington state’s Initiative 522 to label GE food, which also lost following a massive industry advertising campaign, similarly predicted no change in consumer food prices as a result of labeling.

Critique of Professor William Lesser’s “Costs of Labeling Genetically Modified Food Products in N.Y. State”
By Michael Hansen, senior staff scientist
Consumers Union

Hansen finds that Lesser’s industry-funded study, which predicted a surge in food prices as a result of GE labeling, relied on faulty assumptions about consumer behavior and product reformulation.

Proposal for a Regulation on GM Food and Feed
By David Byrne, former European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection

In his 2001 report, Byrne wrote that, “When the current labeling regime was introduced in 1997, it did not result in increased costs, despite the horrifying (double-digit) prediction of some interests.”