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Assessing the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard of 2016: Can Americans Access Electronic Disclosure Information?

Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Iain Gordon
Sustainability 2017, 9(6), 916; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9060916
Received: 15 March 2017 / Revised: 22 May 2017 / Accepted: 28 May 2017 / Published: 31 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture)
The debate as to whether to require mandatory labeling of genetically modified organism (GMO) foods was partially settled on 29 July 2016, when President Obama signed the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard into public law. In contrast to precipitating legislation passed by the State of Vermont that required disclosure of GMO ingredients on food shelves or food packages, the superseding National Standard allows firms to disclose bioengineered ingredients to consumers via symbols, electronic or digital links, or phone numbers, and further requires a study assessing the ability of consumers to access disclosure information by these means. This communication analyzes survey responses from 525 adults to investigate whether U.S. consumers are able to obtain information as per the disclosure methods allowed in the Federal legislation. The survey probes deeper to investigate consumer perceptions of genetically modified organisms and whether consumers would use the tools available to access disclosure about bioengineered ingredients. Findings from the survey show that 93.8% of respondents have the ability to access information via the disclosure methods permitted. Those in the lowest income group, and from the oldest age group are least likely to have such access. This provides the United State Department of Agriculture with information relevant to how they can implement the law and highlights particular demographic segments that may require additional attention to ensure the disclosed information is universally accessible. View Full-Text
Keywords: genetically modified organisms (GMOs); food labels; biotechnology; United Stated Department of Agriculture; policy; information; consumer perception; legislation genetically modified organisms (GMOs); food labels; biotechnology; United Stated Department of Agriculture; policy; information; consumer perception; legislation
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Berning, C.F.; Roe, B.E. Assessing the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard of 2016: Can Americans Access Electronic Disclosure Information? Sustainability 2017, 9, 916.

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