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A field experiment on consumer willingness to accept milk that may have come from cloned cows

Britwum, Kofi, Bernard, John C.
Food policy 2018 v.74 pp. 1-8
attitudes and opinions, cows, field experimentation, issues and policy, markets, meat, milk, models, surveys
FDA policy states that meat and milk from cloned animals is as safe as those from conventional animals and thus such products do not need to be labeled. Therefore if the voluntary moratorium on these foods were to end, consumers would be uncertain which items were products of cloned animals. This study examined consumer willingness to accept (WTA) milk that may or may not have come from cloned cows to judge the market impact of this policy. Non-hypothetical field experiments at four diverse locations were conducted to determine the amount consumers would require to switch from a cup of conventional milk to one with potentially cloned cow milk. Nearly a third of participants submitted the maximum request of $5, indicating a complete unwillingness to switch, while another quarter requested no compensation. Tobit model results showed opinions, attitudes, and shopping habits highly influenced consumers’ WTA. Accompanying survey results found a neutral opinion and low knowledge of cloning, but strong support for labeling despite being informed of the FDA conclusions. Given these findings, in the absence of policy changes voluntary labeling of milk as not being from cloned cows could be a likely future outcome.