Only 21% of the UK public support GM food and only 15% of farmers would eat it
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UK Citizens Continue to Reject GMO food and Even Farmers Don't Want to Eat it
GM Education, 19 July 2013
Another survey has shown that only 21% of the UK public support genetically engineered food. Despite a massive pro-GM push by government, researchers and the media this latest poll carried out in June confirm that UK citizens continue to reject the technology. Meanwhile another survey has revealed that far from clamouring to use GMOs as the government claims, less than half of UK farmers believe GM technology is a good innovation, and hardly any of them want to eat GM food.
Both surveys were funded by Barclays Bank, who’s Head of Agriculture, Martin Redfearn, said; "This research shows how important the issue of GM still is,"
The consumer survey carried out by YouGov confirmed previous polls that less than a quarter of people questioned support GMO technology.
Nearly 70% said they would “prefer to buy conventional" (i.e. non-genetically engineered food).
And in a major slap in the face for the government and its pro-GMO mouth, Farm Minister Owen Paterson, 43% of people said they “were completely against” the government promoting GM technology.
Mr Redfearn said that the survey shows “consumers are still against the idea of GM crops” even though “recently the government has clearly taken an interest in the use of GM crops.”
It’s not clear that the UK’s farmers are all that enthusiastic about the technology either.
A separate survey, also published in June and also funded by Barclays but this time in collaboration with Farmers Weekly, reported that only 47% of farmers believed that GM technology was a good innovation.
600 farmers responded to the online questionnaire and needless to say the industry trumpeted the headline that 61% of them said they would grow GM crops “if they had the opportunity”.
But 39% said that either they would not grow GMO crops under any circumstances (24%) or would be unwilling to do so but would do if they had to.
Farmers don’t see GM as a priority
Even amongst farmers who would like to use GM technology there is a doubt about how much they would benefit.
They ranked farmers at the bottom of the list of who will gain most and consumers only slightly above them.
Seed and agrichemical companies are seen as the primary beneficiaries, followed by research bodies and livestock breeding companies.
52% felt that to date the technology had over promised and under delivered and there remains a scepticism and concern about the way GM technology is controlled by multi-national corporations.
63% or respondents thought it was right for government to be promoting the adoption of GM, while 34% thought they shouldn’t.
But GM was not considered to be a priority for government food policy. Respondents placed reducing waste across the food supply chain as the number one priority, with educating farmers in developing countries on agronomic best practice as number two.
Even if they grow GM they don’t want to eat it
One interesting result is that only 15% of farmers would choose to eat GM food.
54% said they would choose a conventionally labelled food product and 24% would choose organic if it was available.
A clear majority (70%) believed that food products containing GM should be labelled as such.
A degree of honesty that contrasts to supermarkets who deviously sell unlabelled GMO fed livestock products and another slap for Owen Paterson who has been shamelessly trumpeting the fact.
Indeed both surveys ought to cause Paterson and the government to reflect on their relentless pro-GM push.
There is a lack of compelling evidence to justify their policy.
And, as these surveys show, there is a significant amount of questioning and concern amongst farmers and an overwhelming rejection by citizens.
We have studied photographs and confirmed that Owen Paterson, David Willets and others in the cabinet have ears. But we don’t know if they are able to use them.