Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Public Perceptions Of Genetically Modified Foods: A National Study Of American Knowledge And Opinion

Contents:

Author Info

  • Hallman, William K.
  • Hebden, W. Carl
  • Aquino, Helen L.
  • Cuite, Cara L.
  • Lang, John T.
Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    This report presents the results from the second phase of a longitudinal study of Americans'’ knowledge and feelings about agricultural biotechnology and how those perceptions and attitudes have changed over time. Two independent national probability samples of 1,200 adults were interviewed by phone in the spring of 2001 and 2003. While this report focuses on the findings from 2003, longitudinal comparisons are presented where appropriate. The report begins with an investigation of Americans’' awareness of the presence of genetically modified (GM) ingredients in the foods they encounter everyday. Next, the report describes Americans’' actual and perceived knowledge of science, biotechnology and food production. It then examines American opinions about GM foods in general, along with their opinions on a variety of existing and potential GM food products with direct or indirect consumer benefits. The report discusses the relationship between opinions of GM food and a variety of factors, including demographics, knowledge of biotechnology, purchasing behaviors and styles of food selection. Finally, it describes Americans'’ thoughts on GM food labeling. Highlights of the findings are below. Americans pay little attention to agricultural biotechnology. • Only half of Americans are aware that foods containing genetically modified (GM) ingredients are currently sold in stores. • Despite the prevalence of such foods, only one-quarter of Americans believe they have eaten them. • Little more than a third of Americans have ever discussed biotechnology. • Awareness, although still low, has increased slightly from 2001. Americans do not have much knowledge about agricultural biotechnology. • Self-reported knowledge of biotechnology is low. • Quizzes on biotechnology and food production reveal that Americans are generally uninformed about both, and this has not changed since 2001. Opinion on the acceptability of GM foods is split. • When asked directly, about half of Americans report that they approve of plant-based GM foods, (down from 2001) and about a quarter approve of animal-based GM foods (unchanged from 2001). • Approximately 10% of Americans report being unsure of their opinion of GM foods. Opinions of GM food are easily influenced. • Approval increases when specific benefits of GM food are mentioned. • Reactions to the technology depends on what it is called. The term biotechnology evokes the most positive responses, while genetic modification is perceived most negatively and genetic engineering is most often associated with cloning. Demographics and styles of choosing food are related to acceptance of GM foods. • Women, people over 64, and people with low levels of education are less likely to approve of GM foods. • People who value naturalness and healthfulness in their foods are slightly less likely to approve of GM foods. • People who have purchased organic foods in the past are less likely to approve of GM foods.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/18174
    Download Restriction: no

    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Rutgers University, Food Policy Institute in its series Working Papers with number 18174.

    as in new window
    Length:
    Date of creation: 2003
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ags:rutfwp:18174

    Contact details of provider:
    Web page: http://www.foodpolicyinstitute.org/
    More information through EDIRC

    Related research

    Keywords: Consumer/Household Economics;

    References

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as in new window

    Cited by:
    1. Bernard, John C. & Zhang, Chao & Gifford, Katie, 2006. "An Experimental Investigation of Consumer Willingness to Pay for Non-GM Foods When an Organic Option Is Present," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 35(2), October.
    2. Zhang, Xiaoyong & Huang, Jikun & Qiu, Huanguang & Huang, Zhurong, 2010. "A consumer segmentation study with regards to genetically modified food in urban China," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 456-462, October.
    3. Turvey, Calum G. & Mojduszka, Eliza M., 2005. "The Precautionary Principle and the law of unintended consequences," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 145-161, April.
    4. Ekanem, Enefiok P. & Muhammad, Safdar & Tegegne, Fisseha & Singh, Surendra P., 2004. "Consumer Biotechnology Food And Nutrition Information Sources: The Trust Factor," Journal of Food Distribution Research, Food Distribution Research Society, vol. 35(01), March.
    5. Pluske, Johanna M. & Burton, Michael P. & Rigby, Dan & Vercoe, Philip E., 2009. "Cattle breeding in Northern Australia: Revealing how consumers react to new technologies," 2009 Conference (53rd), February 11-13, 2009, Cairns, Australia 48167, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    6. Onyango, Benjamin M. & Nayga, Rodolfo M., Jr. & Govindasamy, Ramu, 2006. "U.S. Consumers' Willingness to Pay for Food Labeled 'Genetically Modified'," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 35(2), October.

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ags:rutfwp:18174. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (AgEcon Search).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.