Blog: More understanding needed of GMOs among consumers
Katy Askew | 20 July 2016
The introduction of legislation requiring the labelling of GMOs in the US has gathered widespread public support.
The bill, which has passed both Houses and is currently awaiting the President's signature, was welcomed by 88% of Americans, research from the Department of Life Sciences Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania reveals. Moreover, a massive 91% of US consumers believe people have a right to know if food they consume contains GMOs.
With such strong support for GMO labelling – and indeed the weight of the food industry being thrown behind national legislation over state-by-state regulations – it is now important to support public debate on the subject.
The fact is, the majority of consumers are sceptical over the role of science in the food sector. This can, in turn, retard the industry's progress in important public health areas such as product reformulation.
According to the UW-Madison and U-Penn survey, while there is overwhelming public support for the labelling of GMOs, there is little understanding of the debate over their use in the public at large.
Indeed, only one in five people agreed that scientists have not found any risks to human health from eating genetically modified foods. Nearly half (48%) disagreed with that statement. Only 39% of people agreed that "GMO crops are safe to eat”.
Dominique Brossard, a visiting scholar at the Annenberg Public Policy Center, said it is "troubling" that only 1 in 5 people knew that scientists have not found evidence of adverse health effects from eating GM foods.
There are some valid concerns over the proliferation of genetically engineered crops. The unintended side effect of increased pesticide use and harm that this can cause health, cross contamination and the environmental implications should all be taken into account. More sustainable alternatives – such as regenerative agriculture – should be weighed in the debate.
But there should be a debate and it should be based on facts rather than misconceptions.
Danone completed its US$12.5bn acquisition of WhiteWave Foods this week. The move will roughly double Danone's presence in North America, where WhiteWave is a top four dairy player. ...
Premier Foods plc revealed today (28 March) it has secured a deal with its pension scheme trustees that will see the UK food maker reduce its pension burden....
Hain Celestial, under the scrutiny of the investment community in recent months and facing some challenges in its domestic market, has announced another shuffling of its management pack....
FrieslandCampina, which today served up higher profits but lower sales for 2016, is ready to offload the last non-dairy business owned by the Dutch cooperative giant....
- Interview: Sir Kensington's on sale to Unilever
- Analysis: Post discusses rationale for Weetabix
- Interview: "Disruptive" snack brand Hippeas
- Column: Why snacking is the new meal
- Who will buy Danone's Stonyfield business?
- Unilever buys US condiments maker Sir Kensington's
- Tyson shops Sara Lee bakery, Kettle and Van's
- Icelandic to sell Saucy Fish Co. owner Seachill
- Dairy dampens Danone in Q1
- Nestle organic growth slows but beats expectations