Industry studies GMO labeling - findings not surprising

By Deirdre Cummings
Legislative Director

Here they go again.  An industry group – MA Farm to Food – releases a “study” by Cornell University Professor William Lesser, Costs of Labeling Genetically Modified Food Products in N.Y. State, to bolster its claims that a New York Assembly GMO labeling bill, A3525, would significantly increase the cost of food. As a veteran advocate on public interest issues, I know I’m in for a good one when any “new study or report” is paid for by the very industry which makes substantial profits off the subject of the study. In this case it is the sale and use of genetically engineered food and seed referred to as GMOs, genetically modified organisms.

Last week, Michael Hanson, Ph.D posted this on the website of Consumers Union:

The Lesser study was funded by the Council of Biotechnology Information and is their intellectual property. The Council consists of major biotechnology companies Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta, BASF, Bayer, and Dow.  The biotech companies make billions by selling the GMO seed and chemicals to farmers and are in opposition to New York’s GMO labeling law and have actively opposed labeling bills across the country.

Consumers Union found that this industry-funded study is based on faulty assumptions and that A3525 will not lead to any appreciable increase in the price of food bought by consumers.

For more detail on why the Lesser report is suspect and exaggerated –check out the full rebuttal from Consumers Union’s Senior Staff Scientist Michael Hanson, Ph.D.

MASSPIRG and broad coalition of organizations are working to pass a GMO labeling bill here in Massachusetts, H. 3996. The bill requires food made with GMOs to be labelled – giving the consumer the information they need to make choices about what they want to purchase. No warning, no crossbones, just a simple 8 word statement on a package if it contains genetically modified ingredients.

Seriously, who can oppose that?


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