American voters overwhelmingly support the labeling of GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, in consumer goods, a new survey conducted by the Mellman Group research firm shows.
In a poll of 800 people who were likely to vote in the next general election, 89 percent of those surveyed indicated that they supported the mandatory labeling of “foods which have been genetically engineered or [which contain] genetically engineered ingredients.” Only six percent of voters said they opposed such labeling, while the remainder of voters was undecided.
The question of GMO labeling also proved capable of crossing party lines, with support from 92 percent of Democrats, 89 percent of Independents, and 84 percent of Republicans. A recent editorial from the New York Times editorial board sums up the majority view in a simple headline, “Tell Consumers What They Are Eating.”
When asked to choose between GMO labels printed directly on packaging or scanned via smartphone, 88 percent of voters opted for labeling “on the package in ways visible to the naked eye,” while six percent of people voted for bar codes, like SmartLabel. The preference for clearly visible labeling, the Mellman Group survey found, was likely because bar codes and QR codes are rarely used, with fewer than one in four people having ever used a code to find out information about their food.
The unified call for mandatory labeling comes at a particularly important moment, as the FDA has just recently approved the sale of genetically modified salmon to American consumers, but declined to require the labeling of the GMO fish. The latter decision has sparked no small amount of public criticism, with several major retailers already pledging not to sell the fish, manufactured by AquaBounty Technologies.