5/5/16 • Food & NutritionGMO Label

Cost Impact of Vermont’s GMO Labeling Law on Consumers Nationwide

American families nationwide will spend approximately $1,050 more per year on groceries due to Vermont’s new GMO food labeling mandate, according to the newly released economic impact analysis Cost Impact of Vermont’s GMO Labeling Law on Consumers Nationwide.

The impact of Vermont’s mandatory law requiring on package labels for foods produced with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) would increase food costs for consumers across the country due to the cost of the new labeling systems and because consumers will likely view the GMO labels as warnings, leading food companies to switch from GMO ingredients to more expensive non-GMO ingredients. Such costs would be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices.

Key Findings

  • At a minimum, the Vermont law costs consumers across the country about $3.8 billion, or approximately $50 per family, for label changes. However, costs rise substantially as manufacturers shift to reformulate products to non-GMO. Such a switch would cost $81.9 billion annually, or approximately $1,050 per family per year in the form of higher food prices.
  • Since low-income families, pay a higher share of their income on food and other essentials, they will be disproportionately affected by the Vermont law. This increase would take nearly 2.5 percent of the median income of the poorest fifth of the population.
  • Costs incurred by American food manufacturers to comply with Vermont’s GMO labeling mandate could lead to an increase of nearly 2 percent (1.76 percent) in average food prices nationwide in the first year. These higher grocery costs will likely continue in the years ahead with a total cost of approximately $13,250 per household over 20 years.

The study was produced by the economic research firm John Dunham and Associates and was commissioned by the Corn Refiners Association.