NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Should the United States Require GMO Labeling?

September 3, 2014

Sixty-four nations have so far passed GMO labeling laws, requiring manufacturers to note whether their foods are the product of genetic modification. Jon Entine, public policy fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, discusses the status of support for genetically modified (GM) labeling in the United States.

Many state legislatures are facing pressure from lobbying groups to impose GMO labeling rules in their states. Vermont started requiring GM foods to have labels this year, and 25 other states have seen proposals for mandatory labeling laws.

In short, the argument in favor of GMO labeling is based in concerns that GMOs are untested and may be unsafe, but Entine writes there is no evidence GMOs are more harmful than non-GMO foods. In fact, they offer considerable benefits:  

  • The world's major science organizations, including the World Health Organization, have concluded that GMOs are safe.
  • GM foods offer benefits that non-GMOs lack, as GM foods can be engineered to repel pests without insecticides, resulting in larger crops.
  • GM foods can be enhanced with vitamins.
  • GMOs could be an important tool in increasing the world's supply of food as populations increase.

In Europe, where many countries do have mandatory labeling requirements, consumers have been hit with fewer choices, higher food prices and greater pesticide use. If countries continue to require GMO labeling, Entine writes the likely outcome is that there will be no GMOs left, as consumers will be discouraged from buying GM foods based on the belief organic foods must be safer.

Source: Jon Entine, "Why Liberal Americans Are Turning Against GMO Labeling," Forbes, August 25, 2014.


Browse more articles on Environment Issues