This peer reviewed study from the U.S., on the awareness and attitudes to GM foods of low-income consumers, radically challenges claims that Americans are confidently consuming GM foods or that consumer concerns are a luxury of the affluent.
"Over 80% of the participants indicat(ed) no prior knowledge or awareness of GM foods..."
"Their awareness of genetically modified foods was low, but ethical and safety concerns were fairly high; and they wanted genetically modified foods to be labeled."
The study is published in the University of California's journal 'California Agriculture' (July-September 2003 issue):
Abstract below. FULL TEXT:
Interesting to view these findings alongside the recent multi-country study, undertaken by university researchers in the U.S., Norway, Japan and Taiwan, showing consumers, including American consumers, are willing to pay substantial premiums for non-GM foods. That study also found strong support among American consumers for mandatory labelling of GM foods. http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=1263
Low-income consumers, though less aware of genetically modified foods, are concerned and want labels
Nicelma J. King (Cooperative Extension Specialist, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, University of California Davis)
Consumer attitudes about genetically modified foods have been reported in a number of studies in recent years, but little attention has been paid to the awareness and attitudes of low-income consumers. While land-grant universities and public health departments have targeted these consumers for nutrition education, it is not clear what their attitudes are, or how the subject should be addressed in education programs such as those offered by Cooperative Extension. We conducted focus groups with low-income consumers in California during spring and summer 2002. Their awareness of genetically modified foods was low, but ethical and safety concerns were fairly high; and they wanted genetically modified foods to be labeled. Consumer and nutrition education programs targeted at low-income consumers should address emerging food technologies.
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