We investigate the impact of competing information on the consumer’s evaluation of food products containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). We provide three main results. First, we show that introducing mandatory labels to identify whether or not a food product contains GMOs significantly reduces the consumer evaluation. Second, providing additional information on GMOs with respect to labels significantly affects evaluation. Third, no matter what kind of information previously received, the consumer prefers to seek additional information from the information source they trust the most, i.e., their general practitioner (GP). Overall, these results indicate that the crucial issue for regulating GMOs is not the presence of the label per se, but the availability of the necessary information to make good use of the label content in order to assess potential health risks deriving from genetically modified foods. In particular, our findings suggest that this can be achieved by properly informing (and convincing) GPs and other health professionals that the risks for human health are minimal.
Keywords: Genetically modified foods, labeling, health risks, information sources, general practitioners
Jel Code: C91, D82