What Labelling Policy for Consumer Choice? The Case of Genetically Modified Food in Canada and Europe

26 Pages Posted: 2 Oct 2008

See all articles by Guillaume P. Gruère

Guillaume P. Gruère

International Food Policy Research Institute

Colin A. Carter

University of California, Davis - Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics

Y. Hossein Farzin

University of California, Davis - Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics; Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies (OxCarre)

Abstract

Faced with divergent opinions among consumers on the use of genetically modified (GM) foods, Canada has adopted a voluntary labelling approach for non-GM foods, whereas the European Union has a mandatory labelling policy for GM foods. Interestingly, both labelling systems have resulted in very little, if any, additional consumer choice. Using an analytical model, we show that the coexistence of GM and non-GM products at the retail level depends on the labelling policy, consumer perceptions, and the type of product. Although voluntary labelling tends to favour the use of GM products, it is more likely to provide consumer choice.

(Confrontés à des opinions publiques divergentes sur l'usage des aliments génétiquement modifiés (GM), le Canada a adopté une politique d'étiquetage volontaire pour les aliments non-GM alors que l'Union Européenne a mis en place une politique d'étiquetage obligatoire des aliments GM. Curieusement, ces deux systèmes d'étiquetage n'ont pas réellement permis de faciliter le choix des consommateurs. A l'aide d'un modèle analytique, nous démontrons que la coexistence des produits GM et non-GM au niveau du commerce de détail dépend de la politique d'étiquetage, de la perception des consommateurs, et du type de produit. Bien que l'étiquetage volontaire ait tendance à favoriser l'usage des produits GM, cette approche est plus à même de faciliter le choix du consommateur que l'étiquetage obligatoire.)

Suggested Citation

Gruère, Guillaume P. and Carter, Colin A. and Farzin, Y. Hossein, What Labelling Policy for Consumer Choice? The Case of Genetically Modified Food in Canada and Europe. Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, Vol. 41, No. 4, pp. 1472-1497, November/novembre 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1276698 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-5982.2008.00512.x

Guillaume P. Gruère (Contact Author)

International Food Policy Research Institute ( email )

2033 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006
United States

Colin A. Carter

University of California, Davis - Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics ( email )

One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
United States

Y. Hossein Farzin

University of California, Davis - Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics ( email )

One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
United States
530-752-7610 (Phone)
530-752-5614 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://farzin.ucdavis.edu/

Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies (OxCarre) ( email )

University of Oxford, Department of Economics
Manor Road
Oxford, OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.oxcarre.ox.ac.uk

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