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EXPLAINING INTERNATIONAL DIFFERENCES IN GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOOD LABELING REGULATIONS

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July 12, 2004 EXPLAINING INTERNATIONAL DIFFERENCES IN GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOOD LABELING REGULATIONS Guillaume P. Grue`re, Colin A. Carter, and Y. Hossein Farzin Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics University of California Davis Selected Paper prepared for presentation at the American Agricultural Economics Association Annual Meeting, Denver, Colorado, August 1-4, 2004. Copyright 2004 by Grue`re, Carter and Farzin. All rights reserved. Please do not cite without the permission of the authors. Explaining International Differences in Genetically Modified Food Labeling Regulations Guillaume P. Grue`re, Colin A. Carter, and Y. Hossein Farzin Abstract. More than forty countries have adopted labeling policies for genetically modified (GM) food and the regulations vary considerably across countries. We measure the importance of domestic and inter- national factors implicit in the choice of GM food labeling regulations. Our results show that European and Asian countries tend to follow the labeling policies of the European Union and Japan, respectively. Coun- tries producing GM crops are more likely to have less stringent labeling policies. Countries with no labeling policies are less developed, with relatively large rural economies and are more likely to have ratified the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. 1. INTRODUCTION The main international actors in food trade have adopted dramatically different positions on the labeling of genetically modified (GM) food. In total, more than forty countries have adopted labeling regulations and the characteristics of the regulations vary greatly (Carter and Grue`re 2003a, Sheldon 2002, Phillips and McNeill 2000). At one end of the spectrum, the United States is the largest producer of GM crops, and has adopted voluntary labeling guidelines for non-GM food. At the other end of the spectrum, the European Union (EU) has stringent mandatory labeling regulations, and requires the labeling of GM food and GM ingredients with a 0.9% tole

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