Canada: majority of consumers still opposed to GM food
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GM foods have been on the Canadian market for decades and although government has repeatedly assured consumers of their safety, consumers remain wary. According to a report of Producer.com a report, done by the Strategic Counsel market research firm, found people don’t know much about GM foods, but have a negative feeling when it comes to genetically modified foods.
61% of the respondents explained that they have a negative view of the term genetic modification. Many believe the process involves injecting foods with hormones, antibiotics, steroids or other substances, says the report. If given a choice, most consumers would choose to buy a non-GM food item. The survey found 26 percent of respondents said they would be comfortable eating GM foods and only 22 percent supported their development and sale in Canada.“It is clear that significant efforts to inform and educate Canadians would be required in order to shift views in a more positive direction.”
The study underlines the uncertainty of consumers and their fears: “The term ‘Franken-food’ came up in almost every focus group in the context of discussions about GM foods, although many consumers clearly know very little about the actual science of genetic modification,” the report said.
For policy makers and those tasked with communicating food safety and regulatory policies, such as Health Canada, this is a challenge. “The massive anti-GMO movement, and accompanying volume of information, presents a significant challenge for Health Canada in terms of being a credible neutral regulator, in that there would be a strong likelihood that any decisions/announcements would be received through a conditioned lens”, the report said.
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