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UF Survey Shows Most Floridians Want to Know More about Genetically Modified Foods

Fewer than half of Florida consumers survey by the UF PIE Centersay they would purchase genetically modied food or clothing, even if it cost less or was their favorite food.

Fewer than half of 500 Florida consumers surveyed say they would purchase genetically modied food or clothing, even if it cost less or was their favorite food.  Source: UF/IFAS Center for Public Issues Education.

While almost half of Floridians acknowledge buying genetically modified foods, a recent survey by the Center for Public Issues Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Florida reveals that most people want to know much more about those foods. “The study shows that Floridians believe they don’t know much about genetically modified foods and their benefits,” said Joy Rumble, assistant professor in agricultural education and communication at the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. “Many people are favorable to supporting research, and they think it’s essential that government support it. Floridians see a place for GM foods, but they do have hesitations.”

The PIE Center surveyed 500 Floridians on their perceptions of genetically modified foods. Respondents were largely unsure about the potential benefits of genetically modified food, with more than 40 percent neither agreeing nor disagreeing that food technology such as GMOs allows people to live longer or better lives.

Source: Center for Public Issues Education

A recent survey of 500 Florida consumers shows that only 33% considered genetically modified foods as safe.  Source: Center for Public Issues Education

However, there is a great potential to educate Floridians about the topic, as 64 percent of respondents indicated that they would like to learn more about genetically modified foods. Only 22 percent of Floridians agreed or strongly agreed that they received information about genetically modified food from a scientist, but 59 percent of respondents would like to learn more from universities.  “This is a great opportunity not only for UF but also for other educational institutions across the country to take the lead in educating the general public about genetically modified foods,” Rumble said.

In addition, many Floridians were favorable toward supporting research, with 42 percent agreeing that studies about genetically modified food are essential for improving the quality of life. Almost half agreed that the federal government should support research on genetically modified food. “The research results show opportunities to continue to educate and communicate with consumers about the safety of genetically modified food,” Rumble said. “Still, there is some negative perception about these foods out there.” For example, fewer than half of Florida’s residents say they would purchase genetically modified food or clothing, even if it cost less or was their favorite food. But, more than 40 percent of Floridians agreed or strongly agreed they have purchased genetically modified food in the past, while only 27 percent of Floridians believe they currently purchase genetically modified food.

Permanent link to this article: http://leon.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/07/01/uf-survey-shows-most-floridians-want-to-know-more-about-genetically-modified-foods/