Canadians divided on GMO safety but most support labeling, survey finds

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Image source: Center for Food Safety

If there’s one clear finding that emerges from a new study on genetically modified food in Canada, it’s that Canadians are confused about it.

A survey of consumer attitudes about genetic engineering plant-based and animal-based foods released Thursday [May 24] finds that the majority of Canadians — 56.3 per cent — believe that genetically modified (GM) food is thoroughly tested before it reaches consumers, compared with just 16 per cent who disagree.

But at the same time, Canadians are deeply divided on the safety of genetically modified plants, animals and food products, according to new data from Dalhousie University.

The survey of 1,049 Canadians found that 37.7 per cent believe GM food is safe to consume, while 34.7 per cent believe it is not safe to eat and 27.6 didn’t have an opinion on its safety. Thirty-five per cent of those surveyed said the health effects of GM food are fully understood, while 44 per cent said they disagreed.

“People who are supportive of biotechnology would argue that there is little risk (from GM food), and it’s true — from a food safety perspective, the science is very clear,” said [Sylvain Charlebois, dean of management at Dalhousie University and lead author of the study], who believes GM food should nevertheless be labelled.

The survey found that 88.6 per cent of respondents said GMO food and ingredients should be labelled as such in Canada.

Read full, original post: Canadians deeply divided over genetically modified food, study shows

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