Survey agrees with FDA: No need to label food with biotech-engineered ingredients

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golden riceAn internet survey of 1,000 adults has revealed a perhaps-surprisingly high level of consumer agreement with current FDA policy on GMO-containing foods: there is no substantive, nutritional or health-related difference between GMO and non-GMO food, so no need to label them as such.

The survey was underwritten by IFIC, the International Food Information Council Foundation. Other salient findings included a small increase in the fraction of respondents opposed to the FDA guidelines: from 13 percent in 2008, rising to the current 19 percent. Also, almost three-quarters of respondents said they would have no concerns about purchasing foods with biotech ingredients, and three-quarters stated that they were content with the current amount of information on nutrition labels.

The survey has consistently shown that, when made aware of the health and agronomic benefits of food biotechnology, most Americans are receptive, indicating that accurate information about the technology is important to promoting informed food choices, according to IFIC, which has surveyed consumer perceptions about genetic engineering since 1998.

ACSH s Dr. Gil Ross had this perspective: We are relieved to learn of this survey s findings. Given the ubiquitous media alarms about frankenfoods and high volume of attacks on genetically-engineered agriculture, I had thought that the public was being led towards a baseless fear of these products. In fact, GMOs are both scientifically and regulatory-wise likely to be safer than traditionally-produced food products such foods have to pass regulatory strictures that non-GMO foods do not, and their production techniques are much more precise than the scatter-shot traditional methods of plant breeding. It appears that the food industry and agri-chemical industry have accomplished, to a degree, their task of educating the public about the science and dissuaded them from listening to clueless activists and agenda-driven organic lobbyists, as demonstrated in the successful No Labelling campaigns in California and Washington recently. As we have always said when this topic comes up, if the organic folks are so concerned about GMO food, why don t we mandate labeling of non-GMO-containing foods instead?

For the scientific facts about biotech agriculture, see ACSH s recent publications.