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UVM Study Finds Labeling Reduces Opposition To GMO Foods

A bag of potato chips with a GMO label.
Kathleen Masterson
Simple GMO labeling, like this one from 2016, were found to reduce consumer opposition to GMO foods.

A new study from the University of Vermont shows that opposition to foods containing genetically modified ingredients in Vermont actually decreased after the state implemented mandatory GMO labelling.

But the reasons behind the shifting perceptions remain unclear. 

According to the study, opposition to GMO foods fell by 19 percent in Vermont after the state's GMO labeling law went into effect in 2016.

The lead researcher of the study is UVM professor Jane Kolodinsky, whose scholarship encompasses community development and applied economics with a focus on consumer behavior.

"Our study showed that simple disclosures like 'produced using genetic engineering' do not make consumers more averse to the technology and actually improve their attitudes toward these technologies," Kolodinsky said.

The study also noted that, during the same period of 2014 through 2017, opposition to GMO foods actually increased nationally, raising further questions about why Vermont's labeling law had the effect that it did.

Kolodinsky said more research is needed to figure out why labeling decreases consumer opposition to GMO foods.

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