The results of a new national survey, commissioned by trade groups GMO Answers and the Council for Biotechnology Information, identify the leading questions consumers have about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and how our food is grown. The survey was conducted in order to identify the top 10 questions consumers have about GMOs and to open up the conversation on biotechnology’s role in agriculture.
Research company Ipsos conducted a national, random telephone survey of 1,006 American adults ages 18 and older. Participants were asked: “The following are questions some people have asked about GMOs. Which of the following questions around the use of GMOs would you be most interested in having answered?” From a list of 23 environmental, business and health-related questions regarding GMOs, respondents identified these questions as the top 10 they want answered:
1. Do GMOs cause cancer?
2. Are GMOs causing an increase in allergies?
3. Are big companies forcing farmers to grow GMOs?
4. Are GMOs increasing the price of food?
5. Are GMOs contaminating organic food crops?
6. Why aren’t long-term health studies conducted on GMO plants?
7. Are GMOs causing an increase in the use of pesticides?
8. Why do GMO companies seem like they are so against labeling GMO foods?
9. Are GMOs contributing to the death of bees and butterflies?
10. If livestock eat genetically modified grain, will there be GMOs in my meat?
“A national dialogue is taking place about GMOs and it’s important for us to listen to the questions consumers are asking so we can provide the information to help address their concerns,” said Cathleen Enright, spokesperson for GMO Answers, in a press statement. “We are committed to transparency about how our food is grown, including an open discussion about GMOs. This is why we asked independent, third-party experts to answer these questions publicly. Our goal is to ensure consumers have the information they need to make up their own minds about GMOs.”
Since its launch last year, more than 500 questions about GMOs, food and agriculture have been answered by experts on the GMO Answers site.
Among the questions which were not selected in the top 10 but have been the focus of conversations on GMO Answers: Is the development of GMOs unnatural? Are GMOs causing gluten intolerance? Are GMOs contributing to obesity? Are GMOs contributing to infertility? Are GMO companies suing farmers? Are GMOs contributing to the growth of super-weeds?
“We recognize that consumers have questions about our products and we need to do a better job explaining our technology, role in agriculture and the safety of our crops. In the coming weeks, we invite consumers to come back and follow the answers to the top 10 questions offered by experts at GMO Answers and become a part of this important conversation,” Enright said.