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University of Florida Study Finds Consumer Knowledge Gap on GM Food

A newly published study from the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) reports that while consumers are aware of genetically modified (GM) crops and food, their knowledge level is limited and often at odds with the facts. Brandon McFadden, assistant professor of food and resource economics at UF/IFAS, and Jayson Lusk, agricultural economics professor at Oklahoma State University conducted the survey to better understand what consumers know about biotechnology, breeding techniques, and label preferences for GM foods.

A newly published study from the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) reports that while consumers are aware of genetically modified (GM) crops and food, their knowledge level is limited and often at odds with the facts.

 

Brandon McFadden, assistant professor of food and resource economics at UF/IFAS, and Jayson Lusk, agricultural economics professor at Oklahoma State University conducted the survey to better understand what consumers know about biotechnology, breeding techniques, and label preferences for GM foods. Using an online survey with more than 1,004 participants, they asked questions to measure consumers' knowledge of GM food and organisms. Some questions tried to determine objective knowledge of GM organisms, while others aimed to find out consumers' beliefs about GM foods and crops.

 

From those sampled, 84 percent supported a mandatory label for food containing GM ingredients, but 80 percent also supported a mandatory label for food containing DNA, which would result in labeling almost all food. "Our research indicates that the term ‘GM' may imply to consumers that genetic modification alters the genetic structure of an organism, while other breeding techniques do not," McFadden said.

 

For more information, read the news release at IFA/IFAS News.

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