90% of Europeans fear biotech crops? New survey busts the popular anti-GMO myth

gm crops europe x

A special Eurobarometer survey report on food safety was published [in June]. It shows once again that the regularly promoted narrative that “90% of Europeans are against GMOs” is bogus. ‘Genetically modified ingredients in food and drink’ are reported as having a comparatively low level of concern associated with them (27%) – number 8 of the 15 specified concerns on the list.

 

screen shot at pmConcern has more than halved compared to the last similar survey, published in 2010, when GMOs where reported as the 4th highest ranking concern (66%). Of all the issues of concern in the survey, genome editing is the one with the lowest concern (4%) and awareness (22%). Three issues surface most frequently in most Member States: antibiotics, hormones and steroids (44%), pesticide residues in food (39%) and food additives (36%).

Follow the latest news and policy debates on agricultural biotech and biomedicine? Subscribe to our newsletter.

Main Observations

  1. In reality, most Europeans hardly care about GMOs  Even when prompted with a list of topics starting with GMOs, a mere 27 percent are concerned by GMOs. Only in one quarter of the member states, this level is over one third1. The regularly promoted narrative that “90 percent of Europeans are concerned about GMOs” is therefore bogus.
  2. Concern about GMOs has more than halved in nine years  The level of reported concern has decreased enormously from 66 percent in 2010 to 27 percent in 20192. A very significant reduction occurred in each of the 28 Member States, and in nine, there was even a reduction by a factor of three or more3. The most concerned countries in 2019 (up to 45%) are less concerned even than the least concerned countries in 2010 (at least 46 percent).
  3. Genome Editing is the least of all concerns in the survey  Out of the 15 topics in the survey, genome editing is the one people are clearly the least concerned about (4 percent), and it is also the topic that people are least aware of (22 percent).
Related article:  South Australia considers repealing GMO crop cultivation ban that has cost farmers $33 million

screen shot at pm

Additional Observations

  • In 2019, only six of the 28 member states cite GMOs as their top three most frequently mentioned concerns.
  • The 2010 survey also contained an open question about possible food concerns. A mere 8 percent mentioned GMOs in their reply.
  • In most EU countries, the level of concern about GMOs was clearly lower in 2005 than in 2010, but it is even much lower in 2019 than in 2005. The UK is a notable exception, where concern decreased both between 2005-10 and 2010-19.

See the full GMOinfo briefing here for detailed results and references by country.

This article originally ran at GMO Info as Most Europeans hardly care about GMOs and has been republished here with permission.

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
can you boost your immune system to prevent coronavirus spread x

Video: How to boost your immune system to guard against COVID and other illnesses

Scientists have recently developed ways to measure your immune age. Fortunately, it turns out your immune age can go down ...
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 ...
gmo corn field x

Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment?

Bt is a bacterium found organically in the soil. It is extremely effective in repelling or killing target insects but ...
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