From organic to sugar-free and natural, we’re constantly analyzing the labels on the food we choose to eat. And, as recent FDA labels show, food is becoming increasingly difficult to categorize or label.
Another wrinkle in food labeling is the oft-mentioned, but controversial GMO. GMO’s have been hailed with both criticism and praise for the potential risks or rewards of genetically altering an organism. Many of the foods we already consume have been genetically engineered in some way or another, but speculation and debate over the safety of this practice wages on.
When a definitive study by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine found “no substantiated evidence of a difference in risks to human health between current commercially available genetically engineered (GE) crops and conventionally bred crops,” we decided to ask readers about their sentiment towards GMOs.
The question,”A new report came out saying GMO crops don’t harm human health. What are your thoughts on GMOs?” was answered by 1,974 US adults from May 18, 2016 to May 20, 2016. The results are as follows:
The controversy of this issue is apparent, as responses in favor and against GMOs are identical. That being said, the majority answer, 47%, indicated that many are not familiar with the risks or rewards of genetically modified food. A recent study from the University of Florida yielded similar results–with so much information circulating around GMOs, people are confused or misinformed on the topic.
Those who answered undecided on the topic were more likely to be women living in the suburbs. Men are much more likely to agree with the study that GMOs are not harmful. Women are more likely to be skeptical of the claims, or disagree with the claims overall. Overall, parents are less likely to agree with the study.
What does this mean for GMOs? The results of the survey indicate confusion and a general lack of understanding on the topic. Seeing as GMOs are already prevalent in our foods, it would benefit the FDA and brands to explain the benefits and cite these studies to educate and allay consumers’ concerns.
Given that women were more likely to be skeptical of the study or undecided on the issue could be a detriment to brands. Women are more likely to be the primary shopper for families, and with that buying power, brands who don’t use GMOs could easily influence purchases. On the inverse, if brands selling GMO foods kickstarted education, they might be able to create advocates out of informed female shoppers.