Expert exposes flaws in paper showing increased food costs from Prop 37
By Ken Roseboro
Published: October 1, 2012
Category: GM Food Labeling and Regulations
A “study” showing that Proposition 37 would cost consumers up to $400 more per year for food was published by a group whose previous study on GM food labeling costs in Oregon was deeply flawed according to an agricultural economist.
In 2002, Northbridge Environmental Consultants, based in Westbridge, Massachusetts, published a paper saying that a GM food labeling initiative in Oregon, known as Measure 27, would increase consumer food costs by hundreds of dollars.
However, William Jaeger, professor of agricultural and resource economics at Oregon State University, said Northbridge was wrong in its estimates of increased food costs. “They botched the numbers, and they didn’t make logical sense,” he says.
According to Jaeger, Northbridge estimated the extra cost to produce and keep non-GMO foods separate and applied that extra cost to food products. For example they would estimate that a 10% cost increase for corn syrup would lead to a 10% increase in the cost of any food containing corn syrup even though some products would have a very small amount of corn syrup.
In 2002, Jaeger published a paper with an analysis of GM food labeling costs that had been conducted by the National Economic Research Associates (NERA) for the government of the United Kingdom. According to the NERA, consumer food costs would increase by at most $4.00 per year with GM food labeling.
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