Josh Liam's picture
Why is there such pushback from large GMO companies like the ones involved in this page against GMO labeling?

A:Expert Answer

Cathleen Enright, executive director for the Council for Biotechnology Information, recently answered a similar question. Here is an excerpt from her response:


“For far too long, we’ve let people’s questions and concerns about GMOs go unanswered. That negligence has resulted in a lot of the apprehension the public is expressing today. So here we are, late to the conversation, but resolute in our commitment to choice. 


“There are a number of reasons consumers may prefer to purchase non-GMO. Many of those reasons have been expressed on this website, but concern about food safety or health shouldn’t be one of them. This is why we support voluntary marketing labels for those companies who want to distinguish their non-GM food from their GM food, so their customers have a choice. We will continue to highlight available non-GMO labels here, e.g., USDA organic and other non-GM private-label programs. Our support for choice is also a major factor in why we are providing information and answering questions about GMOs. We want consumers to have the facts so they can make up their own minds.”


Her full response is available here:


If you have any additional questions, please ask at


Lynne Finnerty's picture

I think it is really important for consumer protection that there be a distinction between labeling due to consumer preferences, which should remain voluntary, versus labeling due to health and safety concerns, which is and should be required. A perfect example is the labeling or organic foods, which is voluntary, as it should be. That's because there is no health or safety reason to require labeling of organic foods; it's only a label to help consumers find foods that meet their personal preferences. If you're an organic farmer or food manufacturer, you are not required to label your products as organic. Of course, most of them do because they can charge a higher price. It would and should be the same with non-biotech foods. There is no health or safety risk from consuming biotech foods; however, consumers may want to find non-biotech foods easily if that's the sort of food they want to buy and for which they are willing to pay a higher price. If we don't preserve mandatory labeling for actual health and safety issues, labels won't have as much meaning or usefulness for consumers--especially those who can't afford to or don't want to pay premium prices but certainly want to be protected from eating too many of the foods that could negatively affect their health. There's a big difference.