Food Standards Agency report brings bad news for GMO lobby, reports Claire Robinson
The British public’s concern about GM foods is higher than it’s ever been, shows a report just released by the UK Food Standards Agency.
The report found that public attitudes to the main issues of food safety and nutrition have remained largely unchanged since surveys began in 2010 – except for a higher level of concern about GM foods.
In general, respondents were more likely to cite concerns after they were shown the lists of issues: only a small proportion of respondents spontaneously mentioned concerns. GM foods were the second most frequently cited food safety concern spontaneously mentioned by respondents (8%), after food hygiene when eating out (9%). After GM foods were mentioned, the level of concern went up to 24%.
The level of concern about GM foods (24%) has gone up and down over the series of surveys, and is currently higher than in most previous surveys. The level of spontaneous concern about this issue (8%) is also 3-4 percentage points higher compared with all previous surveys.
The results are perhaps a reflection of the instinctive mistrust that people have of “experts” and government officials who proclaim risky products and technologies to be safe. We’ve been lied to so many times that such assurances are likely to have the opposite effect to that intended. The US food and agribiz lobby’s determination to prevent GMO labelling in the US only fuels the mistrust.
The new report is available at: