Why GMO advocates are failing in convincing the public that biotech crops are safe and beneficial

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A protester holding a home-made sign during the US 'March for Science'
A protester holding a home-made sign during the US 'March for Science'

I have complained often about the lack of horizontal polling for public acceptance of genetically modified food – where the same question is asked in the same way at regular intervals, so the results can be compared to detect opinion trends. Finally, we have one good effort from….The Pew Research Center.

[Editor’s note: John Phipps is a contributing editor to Farm Journal and a farmer in Illinois.]

Unfortunately, these rigorous results are not what many in agriculture want the answer to be.  First, here is the question that was asked both in 2016 and 2018: “Genetically modified foods are [blank] for one’s health than foods with no genetically modified ingredients”….In 2018 the results were 49% said worse, 44% said neither, and 5% said better. While these results are discouraging for GM proponents, more disturbing is the trend.

Related article:  Zambia lifts ban on GMO imports, says biotech crops are safe to consume

In 2016, only 39 percent said GM foods are worse….GM acceptance is diminishing markedly….GM proponents should seriously reconsider their strategy….Is it unthinkable to just disengage from this debate? What if our advocating is the driving factor for this trend?….

At the very least, the mini-industry of speakers and organizations that preach to the choir at farmer and agribusiness meetings should be recognized as at best handholding for anxious GMO users, not an effective influence on public opinion.

Read full, original article: A “DISTURBING TREND” IN PUBLIC ACCEPTANCE OF GMOS

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