To label or not to label? That is the question. More importantly, how could GMO labels impact America? GMO labeling has become a huge controversial issue in the U.S. recently. It is incredibly important to consumers and businesses alike.
But I have some other questions that few people have addressed: If GMO labeling does become mandatory, who gets to decide what this looks like? Will it be in size 10 font on the label on the back of the box? Or will it be stamped as a design on the front of 60%-70% of the packages in our grocery stores? And if it does get stamped on the front, what will the stamp look like?
The Non-GMO Project’s seal of verification is very aesthetically pleasing to consumers with its green grass and colorful butterfly. It’s hard for consumers not to be attracted to this picture.
But what would a “This product contains GMOs” label look like? Would there be a “no sign” around the “GMO” or a skull and crossbones under the words?
Or would the “O” be a globe or the sun?
How the word GMO is portrayed could impact consumer decisions. No logical human being is going to buy a food item with a skull and crossbones on the front of the packaging. However, bright, colorful, happy-looking packaging will draw consumers in.
The point is, the label is all about point of view, perspective, and how the topic is portrayed. The American Farm Bureau is in favor of making GMO labeling mandatory. However, they want this legislation to go hand-in-hand with consumer education. As Jimmy Kimmel discovered, many consumers have no idea what GMOs are. The Farm Bureau wants to fix this problem so that when consumers see labels, they will actually understand what the labeling is saying.
Educating the public is no easy task since people are incredibly stubborn and GMOs seem to receive more negative media coverage than positive. And we all know that everything we see on TV or on the Internet is true! (Yeah, right…) There is so much conflicting information about GMOs today that consumers don’t know what to believe. Our culture tends to be very negative, untrusting, and maybe even a bit paranoid, which leads to consumers believing all the bad things they hear about GMOs and discrediting the multitude of studies that show they are safe.
This means it would take years and years to fully educate consumers on the true facts of GMOs so that they could make informed decision on their food choices. Until then, consumers will keep making decisions based on what they hear about GMOs and what they see. Positive GMO labels could potentially educate consumers as quickly as any method because they could be found all over grocery stores and everyone has to buy food. In theory, positive labels could increase the sale of GM products just as quickly and easily as it could decrease them.
At this point, I don’t think mandatory labels are a good idea. However, I can’t help but wonder: If the public was better educated and GMO labels were made from a positive perspective, could all parties in the issue accept mandatory labeling?