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Americans' knowledge of genetically modified foods remains low and opinions on safety still split

tinues to have divided opinions about GM foods.

The survey released today also probed topics rarely explored in widely-available opinion polls about agricultural biotechnology, including how Americans feel about the way GM products are regulated in the U.S. and the application of genetic engineering technology to animals. Findings show:

  • Americans oppose a ban on GM foods, but are strongly supportive of a regulatory process that directly involves the FDA. Sixty-four percent (64%) of Americans disagree with the statement, genetically modified foods should not be allowed to be sold even if the Food and Drug Administration believes they are safe, but very few believe that GM foods should be allowed to go on the market without FDA review. Eighty-nine percent (89%) of Americans agree with the statement Companies should be required to submit safety data to the Food and Drug Administration for review, and no genetically modified food product should be allowed on the market until the FDA determines it is safe. Taken together, these statistics demonstrate that consumers want to see that FDA is involved with a genetically modified food product before it is put on the market.
  • Americans are far more comfortable with genetic modifications to plants than animals, and are particularly supportive of genetic modifications that improve health. The majority of people polled (58%) oppose scientific research into genetic modifications of animals. When asked to rate how comfortable they are with genetic modifications of different types of life forms, consumers say they are most comfortable with modifications of plants, followed by genetic modifications of microbes, animals used for food, insects and then animals used for other purposes, such as horses, cats and dogs. When asked about specific purposes for pursuing genetic modifications, nearly every purpose that involved plants (e.g. reducing the need to use pesticides) was conside
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18-Sep-2003


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