Nearly Half of Consumers Still Avoid GMO Foods

[This excerpt is from a Fargo Forum story. Interesting to note is that the distrust of and dislike for genetically modified foods has not diminished much since they first came into popular awareness in the late 1990s.]

A new survey reinforces what most people in agriculture already know: Many Americans have serious concerns about GMO foods, with nearly half of U.S. consumers avoiding them, even though many of the concerned consumers know little or nothing about genetically modified food.

The survey by the International Food Information Council Foundation finds that 47 percent of consumers “avoid GMO food at least somewhat.” Nineteen percent said they avoid GMO food “completely,” and 28 percent said they avoid it “somewhat.”

Of the consumers who avoid GMO foods, 95 percent do so out of human health concerns, with 43 percent saying they’re concerned about the environment, 36 percent citing concerns about animal health and 34 percent saying they have agriculture/farming concerns.

“Despite broad scientific consensus that GMOs are safe to consume, a majority of Americans seem to be convinced otherwise. It’s a significant disconnect and it underscores the need for more creative public education on the science behind our food,” Joseph Clayton, CEO of the IFIC Foundation, said in a written statement.

The survey also found that 36 percent of respondents say “they know little or nothing at all about bioengineered or genetically modified foods.”

It was conducted in conjunction with the July 3 deadline for public comments on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s proposal to disclose “bioengineered” on labels. Such labels “drastically increase a wide variety of consumer concerns, especially regarding human health,” according to the IFIC Foundation, which describes itself as “supported primarily by the broad-based food, beverage and agricultural industries.”

The Forum has much more on this story.