Widespread confusion among Canadians over what foods are genetically modified

Genetic modification has been a polarizing issue since genetically modified seeds were first approved and planted in Canada in the mid-1990s. But with consumers increasingly keen to know where their food comes from, the topic of what’s in their food is also attracting renewed attention.

“I think people are genuinely interested in their food,” says Ellen Goddard, a University of Alberta economist who studies consumer response to new technologies. “Something about the GM debate has intrigued them. They want to know more about how their food is produced.” She adds: “Consumers will almost always say they want more information.”

Still, a recent Ipsos Reid study found widespread confusion about which crops, fruits and vegetables are products of genetic engineering. The poll of 1,200 Canadians conducted in late 2013 for BioAccess Commercialization Centre, a non-profit organization that supports the natural foods industry, found that 71 per cent of respondents would avoid buying foods containing GMOs if presented with the option to do so.

Yet Canadians don’t seem to have an accurate picture of what foods are genetically modified. More than 60 per cent of the poll respondents identified strawberries as a product of genetic engineering, but there are no commercially grown GM strawberries. Only 42 per cent identified tofu as a GMO product, despite that more than 90 per cent of soybeans grown in North America are genetically engineered. And 77 per cent identified chicken as a GMO product, when there’s no genetically modified meat or fish in the market — although much animal feed does contain GM ingredients.

Read the full, original article: Fields of gold … or plains of ruin? The debate over genetically modified seeds in Alberta rages on

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

As Europe sees record coronavirus cases and deaths, Slovakia is testing its entire adult population. WSJ's Drew Hinshaw explains how ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend