A new poll indicates that over half of Britons are still hostile towards genetically modified foods.

In a poll organised by MORI, 56% of those questioned said they were against GM foods, while just 14% were in favour. Women showed stronger opposition than men (61% of women, 51% of men), but there was no significant correlation between affluence or political affiliation and attitude towards GM food.

“The public is yet to be persuaded about GM food and shows little sign of softening its opposition, which has been relatively stable ever since the issue came into the media spotlight,” said Philip Downing, head of environmental research at MORI.

Published in the MORI Environment Research Bulletin, the poll questioned 2,141 adults across Britain in February and has a margin of error of about plus or minus two percentage points, reported AP.

The results will add grist to the mill of vociferous anti-GM campaigners in the UK and overseas, coming as it does ahead of a nationwide public debate. The government has promised to give weight to the debate when it decides whether commercial GM plantings have a future in the UK.