Consumers more concerned about GMO crops’ environmental impact than health worries, German study finds

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[H]ealth risks were generally perceived to be lower for bioenergy than food whenever full commercialization was pursued. Furthermore, full commercialization of genetically modified food prompted higher concerns about personal health, whereas use of crops for bio-energy production was broadly related to higher levels of socioeconomic risk. Finally, although the majority of consumers identified health risks as being most relevant, the consequences for the environment evoked the greatest degree of risk perception.

In general, our findings lend support for the notion that the policy regime is the most important determinant for risk perception, followed by the type of risk dimension and level of trust in industry.

The guiding question of this study was whether or not consumers are likely to reject green GE under all circumstances. For our purposes, this would be reflected by the level of risk perception remaining the same across each product end-use, type of policy regime and risk dimension. However, this supposition was immediately contested by the fact that risk perception of green biotechnology depends on product end-use. This finding has important implications, since it suggests that biotechnological applications are evaluated at both the technological and the product levels, specifically in relation to the intended end-use. In general, food applications are perceived to be riskier than those for bioenergy, suggesting that nonfood products might find greater public acceptance.

Read full, original post: Debunking the myth of general consumer rejection of green genetic engineering: Empirical evidence from Germany (behind paywall)

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