Study: Many Consumers Unwilling To Waver On GMOs

According to a new University of Florida (UF) study, even when armed with new information, many people won’t change their minds about genetically modified foods.

In fact, some grow even more stubborn in their beliefs that GMOs are unsafe, says Brandon McFadden, a UF/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) assistant professor in food and resource economics.

To McFadden’s surprise, after participants read scientific information stating that genetically modified foods are safe, 12 percent of the study’s participants said they felt such foods were less safe — not more.

“This is critical and hopefully demonstrates that as a society, we should be more flexible in our beliefs before collecting information from multiple sources,” McFadden says. “Also, this indicates scientific findings about a societal risk likely having diminishing value over time.”

For the study, published in a recent issue of the scientific journal Food Policy, McFadden led a research project that surveyed 961 people across the U.S. via the Internet in April 2013.

To assess their beliefs about genetically modified foods, participants were asked to respond to statements such as: “Genetically modified crops are safe to eat.” Then they were given scientific information about genetically modified foods.

For example, researchers showed them this quote from the National Research Council regarding genetically modified food: “To date, no adverse health effects attributed to genetic engineering have been documented in the human population.”

After reading statements from scientific groups, participants were asked about their beliefs regarding the safety of genetically modified foods. The choices ranged from “much less safe” to “much more safe.”
The results showed that before they received the information, 32 percent believed genetically modified foods were safe to eat; 32 percent were unsure and 36 percent did not believe GMO foods were safe to eat. After they received scientific information, about 45 percent believed genetically modified foods were safer to eat and 43 percent were not swayed by the information.

Read more about the study, which also included reactions to science on global warming, at bit.ly/gmostudy.

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One comment on “Study: Many Consumers Unwilling To Waver On GMOs

  1. What the companies that produce GMO are to blame for this. Most if not all have horrible track records when it comes to disclosure of problems ie. Monsanto, Dow even Bayer has a sordid track record when it comes to safety over profit. They also have inserted Ge food so far into our food supply (without our knowledge because they did not think we were able to handle that knowledge) This is seen as a serious breach of trust. How is it they can’t understand the right to know is more important to the consumer than whether the company can make a profit before they (the consumer) finds out? One would be hard pressed to find processed food that is not gmo.
    It is also no unheard of to find doctored science and at least one of the previously mentioned companies has been guilty of that.
    The additional studies that have been done also have been nothing more than reviews of previous studies that were also reviews of previous studies. How is that science BTW? Review of past research and even some new research also adds suspicion to the subject.
    It’s not as simple as presenting science. Especially when such effort is made to stop labeling of gmo ingredients in food.
    It is presented this way. I (the companies that produce and promote gmo foods) know what is good for you so whatever we do to promote this technology should be acceptable. And if it is not we will worry about the consequences when they happen.
    These are the consequences. You bought it so deal with it. They want trust they should have had more trust in the people they were feeding this to.

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