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The Public Doesn't Want What's for Dinner

8/1/2007 12:00:00 AM

Tags: GE food, GMOs, biotechnology, public opinion, consumer choice

Most of us apparently don't know it, but we've been eating genetically engineered food for more than 10 years now. The DNA of about 90 percent of soybeans, 75 percent of canola, 80 percent of cotton and 60 percent of corn on U.S. fields contain genetically modified organisms. Since 2001 the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology has conducted an annual survey about genetically engineered food. The most recent survey reveals that Americans are still largely uninformed about the presence of gene-altered food in their diets. It's safe to assume that almost every U.S. citizen has consumed the stuff; it's in every imaginable processed food you can think of. Yet only about 1 in 4 adults believes they've eaten GE food. Sixty percent believe they have not. For that to be true, 60% of the adult population in this country would have to be growing their own non-genetically-modified food or eating ONLY whole, unprocessed primary foods, while managing to avoid conventionally produced squash and zucchini, dairy products, meat, eggs, honey, vegetable oil and margarine—even this is an incomplete list.

Meanwhile, about a third of Americans think these foods are unsafe, 40 percent want more regulation, and half those polled actually are opposed to allowing GM foods in our food supply.

And here's another interesting statistic from these studies. In 2001, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was the most trusted source of information regarding the safety of genetically engineered food. This year, only 14 percent of those polled trust the FDA above other sources.

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