Mandatory Labelling

Zainol, Zinatul, et al. “Mandatory Labelling of Genetically Modified (GM) Foods.” International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law & Economics 15.2 (2015): 199-216. Galileo at Georgia State University. Web. 27 June 2017.


This publication comes from a peer-reviewed, multidisciplinary journal.

Its purpose is to determine whether a labelling system be used for GM foods.


Thesis: GM foods are “credence goods” and they may have health hazards that we are unaware of yet due to the present scientific knowledge of them, therefore they should be labeled. Arguments against GM labelling only consist of economic reasons and refuse to acknowledge the potential health risks associated with them. The argument is supported with references to Malaysia’s and the European Union’s mandatory labelling system, and the United States’ and Canada’s voluntary labelling system to compare the success of both sides. The article also includes evidence of genetic modification and the development of GM foods in the past three decades. The authors consider the opposing arguments at present regarding GM labelling and uses the evidence and references listed above to analyze those opinions.


Logos is riddled throughout the article. It contains mostly facts about the history of GM food processing and statistics such as: “13.3 million farmers in 25 countries were involved in cultivating various GM crops” (201). A section in the article focuses more on ethos which offers a historical account of past labelling laws which helped shed light on the present labelling debate. Some pathos is used to show how absurd some of the opposing arguments can be: “Even more disturbing is MacDonald and Whellams’ further assertion that consumers have no right to know what they are taking as food” (207).


This connects to my research probe because it shows why nations such as the United States have a voluntary GM food labelling system. Much of the reasons are purely economic and have nothing to do with consumer safety (which I believe is the number one priority) such as:

  1. Segregating GM foods from natural ones would be too complex and costly (different storage, processing, etc).
  2. Mandatory labelling needs accurate tracking which will increase costs and decrease profits.
  3. Some argue consumers do not care about food labels.

The article concludes that doubts continue to surround the claim that GM foods are as safe as their natural counterparts. It is described that GM foods can have benefits, but modern biotechnology should be used to not only address those benefits but to also include the hazards that research has yet to find. Labelling GM foods would be a great step towards that approach.

2 Replies to “Mandatory Labelling”

  1. Hi, I love how you explained your sources. I would like to know how you linked each summary. Thanks, Yasmeen.

    1. Thank you! Actually I didn’t link any of my summaries to the sources themselves. But if you’re asking me how the title of each one is linked to its own page, it’s because each summary I made was a post that fell under Rhetorical Argument Summaries.

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