A preliminary comparison of the retail level effects of genetically modified food labelling policies in Canada and France
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Most developed countries have adopted labelling policies for genetically modified (GM) food. In April 2004, Canada implemented a voluntary labelling policy for GM and non-GM food, while France adopted the European Union's new extended mandatory labelling of GM food. I present the result of a qualitative survey of GM and non-GM food labels in supermarkets in Canada and France, five months after the introduction of the new policies. I find that there are almost no GM labelled products in France and non-GM labelled products in Canada. Each policy tends to crowd out the targeted label attribute. However, Canadian consumers can choose between GM and non-GM organic products, whereas there are only non-GM products in French supermarkets. Recent political developments in Quebec suggest that the labelling landscape may change in Canada, either with an increase in the number of non-GM products at the retail level or a transition towards a mandatory labelling policy like in France. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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