Labeling Genetically Modified Foods: Communicating or Creating Confusion - Video Webcast

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06/27/2002 - The Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology hosted a policy dialogue, "Labeling Genetically Modified Foods: Communicating or Creating Confusion?" on June 27, 2002 in the Paris South Room of The Hotel Monaco, 225 North Wabash, in downtown Chicago. Dan Charles, Contributing Science Correspondent for National Public Radio and author of Lords of The Harvest: Biotech, Big Money and the Future of Food, moderated the lively discussion with consumer activists, a major food company representative and academic researchers.

"One of the most contentious issues in the debate over the use of agricultural biotechnology has been over whether or not foods made with genetically modified ingredients should be labeled as such," said Michael Rodemeyer, executive director of the Initiative. "We are pleased to provide a forum for all viewpoints on this issue to engage one another and help illuminate the discussion in a moderated, thoughtful manner."

Panelists were:

  • Professor Jonathan K. Frenzen: Clinical Professor of Marketing at the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business, who has researched consumer attitudes toward GMOs and believes mandatory labels are an ineffective way to communicate information to the average consumer.
  • Gregory Jaffe: Director of the Biotechnology Project at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). CSPI has taken the position that the best way to ensure consumer confidence in GM foods is to improve the U.S. regulatory system and that food labeling should not be a substitute for safety.
  • Austin P. Sullivan, Jr.: Senior Vice President of Corporate Relations at General Mills. Inc., who believes that mandatory labeling of biotech ingredients would, perversely, limit consumer choice, retard the development of a beneficial technology that has repeatedly been found to be safe, and that voluntary labeling is a far more efficient way to provide market-based choices for consumers.
  • Craig Winters: Executive Director of the Campaign to Label Genetically Engineered Foods. The Campaign has been leading a national grassroots effort to get the U.S. Congress to pass legislation that will require the mandatory labeling of foods that have been genetically engineered.

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