A nationwide Consumer Reports survey found that 60 percent of Americans believe foods labeled as “natural” don’t contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs), when in fact most packaged foods making this claim contain substantial amounts of GMOs.
“The confusing nature of this claim is just one reason we are asking the government to ban the use of ‘natural’ labels on food,” Urvashi Rangan, director of the safety and sustainability center at Consumer Reports, said in a report about the survey.
The survey of 1,000 Americans also found that 70 percent don’t want GMOs in their food.
The federal government does not require foods containing GMOs to be labeled, nor does it mandate that genetically engineered foods be tested for safety. Such laws exist in more than 60 countries, including China and the European Union. Among U.S. states, only Vermont requires GMO labeling. In the past two years, ballot initiatives in California and Washington to require labeling were narrowly defeated. GMO labeling advocates point to the fact that their opponents, notably Monsanto, DuPont, and the Grocery Manufacturers Association, outspent labeling supporters five to one.
Consumer Reports notes that not enough research has been done yet to know whether GMOs present a health risk to people. Research by the nonprofit organization also confirmed that foods labeled “organic” and “non-GMO” do not contain GMOs.