food labels

Consumers See ‘Organic’ and ‘non-GM’ Food Labels as Synonymous

Dan Genetically Modified, Industry News Release, Organic

food labelsA study by Florida State University shows consumers regularly mix up food labels. Florida State University’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences says consumers mix up foods labeled “organic” and “non-genetically modified” and some view the two labels as the same.

A national survey of more than 1,000 consumers gauged their willingness to pay for food labeled genetically modified versus non-genetically modified. In the study, when consumers looked at packages of granola bars labeled “non-GMO Project,” they were willing to spend 35 cents more than for the boxes that had text that read, “contains genetically engineered ingredients.”

With the “USDA Organic” label, consumers were willing to pay nine cents more. Meanwhile, consumers indicated they were willing to pay 35 cents more for apples labeled “non-GMO Project” and 40 cents more for apples labeled “USDA Organic.”

Organizers say the results led them to conclude that consumers don’t distinguish definitions of the two food labels. For example, the researchers say it’s possible that a product labeled, “Non-GMO Project Verified” more clearly communicates the absence of GM ingredients than a product labeled “USDA Organic.”

From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting News Service.