Analysis of Consumer Preferences for Biotech Labeling Formats

By Harrison, R. Wes; Mclennon, Everald | Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, April 2004 | Go to article overview

Analysis of Consumer Preferences for Biotech Labeling Formats


Harrison, R. Wes, Mclennon, Everald, Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics


Conjoint analysis is used to measure the preferences of United States consumers for labeling of biotech foods. The study found that consumers in the sample support mandatory labeling of biotech foods. This suggests that U.S. consumers would support revisions to the present voluntary labeling policy of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Results also showed that the preferred labeling format is a text disclosure that describes the benefits of biotechnology in combination with a biotech logo.

Key Words: Agricultural Biotechnology, Labeling, Conjoint Analysis

JEL Classifications: Q 18,Q13

Agricultural biotechnology (AB) is broadly defined as a collection of scientific techniques that involves taking the genes from one plant or animal species and inserting them into another species to transfer a desired trait or characteristic.1 For farmers, AB has led to reduced production costs, enhanced yields, and the potential for increased profits. Other potential benefits include reductions in pesticide and herbicide use, as well as the potential for enhanced nutritional value, flavor, and shelf life of some foods.

Despite the benefits of biotechnology, consumer acceptance has been mixed-some interest groups have expressed concerns over safety and harmful environmental effects of biotech foods (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Environmental Resource Service 1991). These concerns are due to the public's perception that biotech foods may have some long-term or unforeseen health risks, as well as unforeseen negative effects on wildlife and the environment. Environmental concerns include the potential for biotech crops to interact with nonbiotech plants, leading to the contamination of organic crops and/or herbicide-resistant weeds. The development of Bt-resistant insects and other unanticipated harmful effects on nontargeted organisms in the ecosystem are also frequently cited drawbacks of biotechnology (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Environmental Resource Service 2000). There are also concerns that biotech foods with transplanted genes may cause allergic reactions in some consumers. Health and environmental concerns are particularly strong among European, Japanese, Australian, and New Zealand consumers and have led to mandatory labeling of all biotech foods in these trading regions.

Food labeling has been an important issue in the United States since the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA) of 1990 replaced the voluntary labeling system established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1973. The act requires mandatory nutrition labeling for all packaged foods and strict regulations regarding nutritional content and health claims. However, the FDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have adopted voluntary labeling policies for biotech foods, unless they are materially different from their conventional counterparts. Mandatory labeling is necessary if a biotech product is proved to be materially different from the non-biotech counterpart. Material differences include circumstances in which the common or usual name no longer adequately describes the biotech food, where a biotech food or ingredient changes how the food is used or consequences of its use, if a biotech food has significantly different nutritional properties from the conventional food, or if a biotech food includes an allergen that consumers would not expect to be present based on the name of the food. The U.S. policy also provides for a "GMO-Free" label if foods contain no biotech ingredients (Caswell 1998).

Critics of the PDA's voluntary labeling policy argue that all food produced through biotechnology should be labeled, even if the material aspects of the food have not been altered. They argue that consumers have a right to know when biotech ingredients are present in their food. Proponents of the current policy argue that mandatory labeling of all biotech foods would unnecessarily raise health concerns of consumers, increase the costs of marketing food products, and ultimately lead to higher food prices. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Analysis of Consumer Preferences for Biotech Labeling Formats
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.