About 90% of Americans want their food labeled in such a way that it clearly shows if it contains genetically modified organisms (GMOs), according to a U.S. national poll. It is also surprising that such a study jives also with one from the University of Illinois revealed that when purchasing chicken, beef, dairy and eggs, the great majority of people want their packaging to indicate if it contains GMOs.
Seven Key Issues affecting Most Americans about GMOs
The study identified 7 key issues important to consumers when buying animal-sourced food. Of the 7 issues, 3 are given high importance. These are:
- That the animals were not given growth hormones
- That no GMOs were used in the production of the food
- That the animals had been humanely raised
The third issue — raising animals humanely – was considered more applicable for animals that keep generating eggs and milk than for animals which are raised for slaughter.
The other 4 issues that were raised by the study’s subjects were –
- That the animal was grass-fed or raised on a vegetarian diet
- That the animal had not been given routine antibiotics
- That the animal was raised in a free-range environment
Consumers involved in the study wanted “clear, understandable, and specific” labelling of the produce. Researchers noted that consumers want the specific issues they mentioned to be clearly labeled on the product. For instance, current product labeling says that the animal product is “organic” or “raised humanely”, which to the industry means no growth hormones were used in raising the animal.
But the consumers want the labeling to be more specific and blatant, saying that the animal used in the product was “raised with no growth hormones”. The researchers commented that the product labeling on fruits and vegetables do not apply very well onto animal products – but doesn’t mean the animal product was not treated in an organic or humane way.
Labeling is very important now to consumers and determines the salability of the product.
Obama’s 2016 GMO labeling rules complicate things
It would have gone smoothly already when it comes to GMO labeling with quite a number of companies willing to label their products with or without GMO. However, a new federal GMO labeling law was signed by then President Barack Obama on August 2016, when all GMO product labeling was stopped and producers were told they can choose only from 3 labeling options:
* They can clearly state on the food label the presence of GMOs.
* They can print an 800-number on the package which consumers will have to call if they really want to know whether the product contains GMOs or not.
* They can add a barcode which consumers with smartphones can scan to get the needed information.
Do you think the food manufacturers would voluntarily want to indicate the presence of GMOs in the product, if given the choice? Many consumers got mad also because not everyone has smartphones or have the time to call an 800 number when shopping.
But most importantly, the consumers want clarity and transparency in their labeling, as proven by the University of Illinois study.
How about you – would you want our products to indicate if it has GMOs? Why or why not? Share your opinions in the comments below.