Experts must counter ‘simplistic’ anti-GMO narrative with facts, says neurologist Steven Novella

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GMO labeling protest on the National Mall, D.C. Image Credit: Pavement Pieces via Flickr

The Pew Research Center has recently published a large survey regarding American’s attitudes toward food, including genetic modification …. There are some interesting findings buried in the data that are worth teasing out.

They found that 49% of Americans feel that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are bad for health, while 44% said they were neutral, and 5% said they were better. So the public is split right down the middle over the health effects of GMOs.

Even more interesting is the relationship between science knowledge and fear of GMO’s – among those with a high degree of science knowledge, 38% thought GMOs had health risks, while 52% of those with a low degree of science knowledge thought so ….

Related article:  'Boneless watermelons'? What this new 'hot fruit' can teach us about non-GMO labels and fear-based marketing

It does seem overall that attitudes about food in general and GMOs in particular are changeable. They are not tied to any particular political ideology. In other words – this is an issue where we can potentially move the needle through simple education about the facts.

We need to get the public away from this simplistic narrative to an evidence-based approach. The fact is, those who have negative attitudes toward GMOs are basing their negative opinions on misinformation and a misunderstanding of the science. The anti-GMO campaign is an anti-science movement, as much as global warming denial or the anti-vaccine movement.

Read full, original article: New Pew Survey About GMOs

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