People are Avoiding Non-GMO Labels

A group of three mothers who are also scientists have started actively avoiding products in grocery stores that claim to be GMO free. The reason why these scientists are avoiding non GMO products is interesting and very insightful. They claim that non GMO products lead consumers to believe certain things about a product that aren’t necessarily true. For example, many people associate non GMO products with a healthy life style and sustainability. People are drawn to these products that claim to be GMO free, despite the fact that the label does not provide any information about its nutritional value or environmental impacts.

In fact, genetically modifying food has proven to be useful to us in many ways and is a very effective tool in terms of food production. The article argues that the financial, environmental, and health impacts that come from adopting non GMO food include changes in food formulation, reduced nutritional quality, higher prices, increased pesticide use, and reduced food availability.

When looking at nutritional value there are many cases where foods that are fortified by GMO’s actually have higher nutritional values compared to foods that don’t. A good example to look at is the product Grape Nuts. When Grape Nuts decided to remove GMO’s from their recipe the amount of vitamin A went from 15% down to 0% and riboflavin went from 25% down to 4%.

In terms of financial costs, a study that was performed at North Carolina State University shows that,”GMO-free food costs an average of 33% more than a comparable food item that is not GMO-free. When compared on a per-ounce basis, GMO-free foods cost an average of 73% more.” When you go a step further and calculate how much this would increase a family’s food budget on an annual basis the numbers come in at $9,462 to $12,181 per year.

There is also data out there that suggests non GMO crops are harsher on the environment and require more herbicides to maintain. According to sugar beet farmer Andrew Beyer, “thinks GMO sugar beets are better for the environment, the world, and the consumer. He truly believes it, as do most sugar-beet farmers in the US. And the data suggests they’re right.”

Ultimately, it is interesting to see how people are more inclined to purchase non GMO products based off the assumptions that they are healthier and better for the environment when there is actually quite a bit of data that show non GMO can be more expensive, not as healthy and have harsher impacts on the environment.

As consumers shift to non-GMO sugar, farmers may be forced to abandon environmental and social gains




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6 responses to “People are Avoiding Non-GMO Labels

  1. amyquandt

    Why do you think so many people have misconceptions about the benefits of GMOs? Is it marketing, lobbyists, environmentalists, health professionals?


  2. clint1829

    I think that it is a combination between marketers, environmentalists, and health professionals. Marketers have the potential to benefit from promoting GMO’s because people are always looking for the “New” fad or “healthiest” option. By stating that their product has been genetically modified or not, marketers can appeal to their desired market and sell more of their product. Some environmentalists are opposed to GMO’s while others promote them, so it really is up to the consumers level of education to decide for themselves whether or not they want to purchase genetically fortified products. Additionally, some health professionals will support genetically modified products because some of these products have additional nutritional value. On the other hand, other health professionals will advise against GMO’s because of certain farming practices that are associated with them such as a increased use of herbicide and other chemicals. Ultimately, I think there are a lot of misconceptions about GMO’s because many people are uneducated on the subject and rely on the opinions of so called “professionals” which come from both sides of the argument.


  3. This was really interesting, I wonder if someone could find the exact same kind of data and story-line in the other direction. Just wondering that because it seems like a I’ve heard the same story but backwards (maybe fabricated from little bits here and there, but let me explain). I am just wondering if in reality there should actually be a balance between using GM and non-GM, especially since we know that there aren’t really that many GM crops in the market (at least yet). So i guess my question is, do we have to be totalitarian, avoid all food with such label and by only from such and such? maybe some of the organic labels are trying their best to reduce their impact, probably not all, it just seems very one sided ideas have not really taken us as far as we could go if we join ideas.


  4. clint1829

    I absolutely think that there should be a balance between using GM crops and not using GM crops. I think the main argument is that just because something is”GMO” free, doesn’t mean that it is actually a better product choice, whether it be economically or nutritionally. The women in this article do seem to be taking a totalitarian approach which I do not necessarily agree with. However, I do think that by abstaining from “GMO free” labeled foods they are effectively bring awareness to the fact that there are many factors at play in concern to GMO’s that people need to educate themselves on so that they can make informed decisions.


  5. I find this one of the more interesting articles I have read. I plan to look at products side by side in the future. Economically speaking this is a good article but, to completely eliminate all non GMO products is a bit extreme, which leads me to believe that the three scientist are quite bias. Enviromentally speaking I believe most Non- GMO products can prove to be more earth friendly. I look forward to comparing non GMO to GMO in the future. I also want to look deeper and begin to understand why companies take advantage of us the way they do.


  6. clint1829

    I agree with you that in many cases non-gmo’s can be more sustainable in terms of agriculture. However, I think that in this article the scientists are ultimately trying to make the point that just because something says “GMO-Free” doesn’t mean that it is inherently better than something that is genetically fortified. There is definitely a lot of bias in regards to this situation which is why I think the most valuable solution is for people to be aware of the ambiguity and educate themselves.


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