The Vermont authorities adopted a temporary law which required manufacturers to label those products made with genetically engineered ingredients. Researchers wanted to study the effect of this phenomenon, and discovered it was actually beneficial. People were usually skeptical about consuming genetically engineered foods, also called GMOs. However, the label made them feel a bit more trusting with the products.
People tended to be more hostile towards GMOs
Researchers have performed a lot of studies on GMOs and revealed they weren’t more dangerous than regular products. However, the idea of genetic engineering scares people, who choose to stay away from such foods. Regardless of the findings, the authorities settled upon a decision. People should make informed purchases, so products with genetically engineered ingredients should be labeled accordingly.
There have been many scientists who commented on this decision. They think this labeling will mislead people, making them think GMOs are more dangerous than they are. Fortunately, the state of Vermont allowed scientists to settle this debate. In 2014, it passed a labeling law which came into effect in 2016.
Soon after this federal law passed, Obama, who was president at the time, proposed a national law on a standard template for these labels all across the country. Therefore, producers had these two years available to see how people treat the labels.
Labeling changes the attitude of people towards genetically engineered foods
Jane Kolodinsky, a University of Vermont applied economist, was already looking at how people reacted towards GMOs. Therefore, she used this chance to perform a series of surveys both in Vermont and in the other states. This revealed that people in Vermont gradually became less concerned about these foods once the labels started appearing.
In Vermont, the hostile attitudes towards genetically engineered foods dropped by 19 percent after the law passed. On the other hand, people from other states remained skeptical about these foods. Therefore, researchers think the national law will have a positive impact on the economy. People are more likely to embrace these products if they see the labels, thus increasing their consumption.
The study was published in the journal Science Advances.
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