Sangeeta Bansal
Jawaharlal Nehru University, India
Guillaume Gruère
Formerly International Food Policy Research Institute

Several genetically modified (GM) food crops have reached an advanced stage in the research and regulatory pipeline in India. The government of India is in the process of introducing a mandatory labeling policy for GM food. It is timely to study the likely economic impact of introducing such a labeling policy. This study aims to assess the economic implications of implementing a mandatory labeling policy on two products, brinjal and rice, that are likely to be commercialized in the near future. Our analysis is based on a combination of resources from the existing literature and with qualitative surveys of the market chain actors for these two products. We find that market effects of labeling will be highly dependent on the types of product. In particular, the labeling of brinjal and rice is bound to create more significant consumer reactions than for highly processed edible oils. Furthermore, both products may result in increased product differentiation, but at a different scope and for a different purpose. More generally, products with informal marketing systems are at high risk of being mislabeled.

Key words: Bt brinjal, genetically modified foods, labeling policy, market effects, regulation, rice.