This paper analyzes the awareness and attitudes of the Chinese public toward genetically modified (GM) foods with different types of labeling and evaluates the impact of public confidence in the government management of GM food labeling has on their attitude.
From 2015 to 2016, we conducted a series of surveys to collect data from 1730 respondents, which included consumers, farmers, media, and local agricultural officials in agricultural departments. The results show ~60% of the Chinese public do not know that they usually consume or purchase GM products or products containing GM ingredients.
Nearly 80% of the Chinese public are accepting foods labeled as not containing GM ingredients, 57% are accepting foods without labeling, and ~40% are accepting GM-labeled foods. The respondents with a lack of confidence in the government are less likely to embrace GM foods. Those that are more aware of GM products are more likely to accept GM labeled foods.
The group having the most positive attitude toward GM-labeled foods is the media, followed by agricultural officials, while the group having the most negative attitude toward GM labeled foods is farmers. Our findings provide an empirical basis to inform GM food labeling policy discussions and possible revisions, which may promote the development of GM foods in China.
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