Tomorrow morning, the House Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing on the impact of GMO labeling on food prices.
Several witnesses will raise their hands and give sworn testimony that a simple disclosure on the back of a package that food made with genetically modified ingredients will raise food prices.
All of them will be wrong.
Here’s the truth: changing labels has no impact on the price of food. Food companies change their labels all the time to highlight innovations or make new claims. Remember when General Mills changed the Cheerios box to share the good news that its iconic cereal was GMO-free? Did the price change? No.
Here’s another dose of reality: Shoppers do not read everything on the box, can or bottle. As my colleague Mike Lavender recently noted, shoppers tend to look for certain attributes – like calories or the presence of fiber – and disregard the rest. So while some consumers will look for the GMO disclosure, many more will not.