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Poll Finds Consumers Support FDA Biotech Labeling

May 29, 2014
by Candy & Snack TODAY

Washington — A survey commissioned by the International Food Information Council (IFIC) indicates 63 percent of U.S. adults approve of the FDA’s policy for labeling foods produced using biotechnology.

That percentage has remained fairly consistent over the past six years; however, IFIC acknowledges opposition is growing: 19 percent of those surveyed say they disapprove of the FDA policy, up from 14 percent two years ago and 13 percent in 2008.

“The survey has consistently shown that, when made aware of the health and agronomic benefits of food biotechnology, most Americans are receptive, indicating that accurate information about the technology is important to promoting informed food choices,” according to IFIC, which has surveyed consumer perceptions about genetic engineering since 1998.

Seventy-one percent of survey respondents say they have some understanding of plant biotechnology and more than half are aware of animal bioengineering. About one-third of those surveyed expressed positive views of plant and animal biotechnology; approximately the same percentage disapproves of it. Forty percent say they don’t know enough to form an opinion.

Nearly three-quarters say they will likely purchase foods made with bioengineered oils, and more than half assert they would buy food with ingredients genetically engineered to reduce potential carcinogens, damage from insects, use of pesticides, water and land as well as increase nutritional benefits.

More than two-thirds (67 percent) expressed confidence in the safety of the U.S. food supply, a trend that has remained consistent during the past six years; however, disease and contamination and concerns about food handling and preparation remain top concerns.

In general, 74 percent say they are satisfied with the amount of information on food labels; six percent wanted more nutritional information, five percent requested more ingredient data and four percent expressed a desire for biotechnology information on packages.

The online survey of 1,000 adults older than 18 years was conducted by Market Strategies International for IFEC.

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