51% of Americans say GMO-derived food is unhealthy, 59% know very little about it, Pew survey shows

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Americans have mixed views about genetically modified foods (GMOs) and their implications for society. About half of U.S. adults (51%) think GMOs are worse for people’s health than foods with no genetically modified ingredients, while 41% say GM foods have a neutral effect on health. Just 7% say they are better for health than other foods.

Views about the health effects of such foods grew more negative between 2016 and 2018 and have been steady since then, according to Pew Research Center surveys, the latest of which was conducted in October 2019.

screenshot about half of u s adults are wary of health effects of genetically modified foods but many also see
Credit: Pew Research

As Americans think about the effects of GMOs, about three-quarters (74%) say it is at least fairly likely that GM foods will increase the global food supply. And 62% say GM foods are very or fairly likely to lead to more affordably priced food.

Related article:  Viewpoint: Parents' anti-GMO fervor just might contribute to children's allergies


Roughly three-in-ten U.S. adults (29%) report that they have heard a lot about foods with genetically modified ingredients, while 59% have heard a little and 12% say they have heard nothing at all about these foods …. 55% of those who know a lot and a similar share (51%) of those who know a little about GM foods believe such foods are worse for health, compared with 39% of those who say they know nothing about GM foods.

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