Expect Greenpeace To Oppose Mandatory GMO Labelling Now

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Varied of the environmental organisations have been shouting very loudly that genetically modified organisms must be banned. They’ve largely succeeded in the European Union too, despite there being no science whatsoever to back up their claims. Where GMOs have been allowed they’ve then gone on to demand that they must be labelled as such. Expect this demand to be reversed. For it turns out that people like GMOs more if they are told what they are:

Labeling improved Vermonters’ opinions of genetically modified food, compared to elsewhere in the nation — even taking into account age and education, according to a study published in Science Advances. People who saw the labels were actually 19 percent less opposed to GMO foods, compared to people who didn’t see the labels at all.

Vermont was compared to the rest of the nation because two years ago, the state passed a law requiring that all GMO food bear a label.

Exploiting one of those little natural experiments out there, good science that is. Akin to what we’ve got to do in economics most of the time. So, even Vermont – you know, the place that elects Bernie Sanders – notes the people eating this stuff don’t grow two heads – to the extent that Vermonters don’t, you know, Bernie Sanders – and so are happy enough with the stuff:

In the heat of political battle, both sides presented the labeling situation as do-or-die. The Organic Consumers Association, which supported labeling, likened mandatory GMO labels to a “kiss of death” and credited them for driving GMOs out of grocery stores in Europe.

For the people against GMOs really did think that everyone else shared their very strange obsession. Most of us don’t give a damn one way or the other. Price, flavour, convenience, these all might matter, but given that all DNA is manipulated, everything contains DNA, we don’t seem to care very much how the contained DNA was manipulated.

But given the drastic differences seen between the two data sets, Kolodinsky says, it’s likely that Vermont residents did see lots more labeled products than anyone else would have, and that these labels helped set their mind at ease. The difference in attitude was seen even when you accounted for states next to Vermont, which might have had GMO labeled foods produced regionally on their store shelves.

Noting the GMOs in near everything in the US food supply and noting the absence of two headed people (well, Bernie supporters) and people stopped worrying.

All of which makes me suspect that we’re about to see Greenpeace and the rest becoming opposed to mandatory GMO labelling. For as people begin to understand reality, rather than live off phantasmal fears, they become more amenable to GMOs. Which of course isn’t the point for the campaigners, who wish to stoke those phantasms because didn’t you know that genetic modification is the very devil? And, of course, don’t take any note of that reality outside the window, just ban ’em all now, right?

Being a tad less cynical about matters who knew that experience actually works with human beings? Cry wolf, there’s an absence of wolves and we all rather see through the cries, eh?

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Daedalus
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Daedalus

I always thought that it would be a good idea for us as an island nation to totally go GMO free and fully organic with our own farming, paticularly as we are leaving the EU. Then we can sell the products to all and sundry at a nice marked up organic price to those who are prepared to pay for it. Means we can probably get rid of the money the farmers get from the state as well. No issue with any GMO’s coming into the country for those who want to buy them, we would get them cheaper and… Read more »

Southerner
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The way that markets work is that suppliers and buyers haggle over how much of what product to trade at what price. There is the core product e.g. a carrot and there is the enhanced product e.g. carrot + washed + packaged + GMO free. If enough people want the enhancements at a price the supplier will accept, great. If not very many buyers are interested in the GMO free enhancement, then there’s no point in increasing the supply just so we can say Noddy Badge.

Chester Draws
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Chester Draws

Other countries can undercut you Daedalus. There’s no way you can have organic UK beef cheaper than NZ can, especially as the latter can do 100% grass fed automatically.

The UK needs to compete on quality.

Incidentally, this assumes the market is individuals. I would guess that most food is bought via commercial operations — fast food, canned, etc. How big is the organic fast food market?

GR8M8S
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GR8M8S

No they won’t because they ignore evidence that does not fit their worldview. In which said view GMO is bad because they say so and besides people must be spared such horrors because people are dumb. ‘Simples’ as that Russian meerkat says.

Arthur the Cat
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Arthur the Cat

I’m always amused by the way anti-GMO types regard conventional plant breeding. They seem to think it involves some sort of swanning about with a camel hair brush between hand picked plants. In reality it often involves using strong chemical mutagens or gamma radiation, the exact sort of thing they’d normally shriek in horror about, to randomly mutate the plants and then picking which ones survive and thrive.

Esteban DeGolf
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Esteban DeGolf

A similar situation occurred in the States over oil and gas pipelines years ago. The Greenies who were fighting the building of a particular pipeline produced a map showing the path of the proposed pipeline and all the rivers, lakes, streams, etc. that it would cross – truly terrifying to see all the potential for disaster it involved, truly!

Then some other bastard had the nerve to produce the same map showing all the pipelines that were already in use in the same area, they were pretty well everywhere.