The FDA’s website says the agency has received petitions to mandate GMO labeling nationwide but hasn’t made a call on the idea. PHOTO: ROBYN BECK/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

MANY consumers are getting confused with the “organic” and “non-GMO” labels, according to a national survey conducted by sci­entists at the University of Florida and Purdue University.

In June 2016, the Congress approved the National Bioengi­neered Food Disclosure Standard which allows companies to label GM foods by text, symbol, or QR codes. Economics experts, Bran­don McFadden from the University of Florida, and Jayson Lusk from Purdue University, together with their team surveyed 1,132 respon­dents to find the best ways to communicate whether a food con­tains GM products.

The researchers measured the consumers’ willingness to pay for a dozen granola bars and a pound of apples.

Results showed that consumers are willing to spend 35 cents more for products with non-GMO project verified label compared to those with GM label; while they are will­ing to pay 9 cents more for products with USDA organic label.

For apples, they are willing to pay more for those with USDA organic label compared to those with non-GMO project label. The respondents’ answers may imply that the consumers do not under­stand the difference between the two labels.

They also found that consumers are willing to pay more for GM food if the information is provided by a QR code. According to McFadden, this finding implies that several respondents did not scan the QR code. If all consumers used the QR code, there would not be a signifi­cant difference in their willingness to pay.