This goes way beyond a late-night GMO skit by Jimmy Kimmel. A new survey found that a majority of Americans aren’t confident they know what GMOs are, and this lack of knowledge may be driving overall uncertainty and discomfort.
However, concern and confusion do not equate to rejection, as nearly the same number of Americans want to learn more about GMOs. With the USDA aiming to publish its final GMO labeling ruling on Dec. 1, this topic is only set to become more prominent.
The new survey was conducted by data company YouGov on behalf of GMO Answers, an initiative committed to responding to consumer questions about how their food is grown.
The key findings are:
- 69% of consumers are not confident they know what GMOs are, and roughly the same amount (68%) say they are not comfortable with the use of GMOs in their food products.
- Roughly 60% of Americans are interested in learning more about GMOs; 74% want to learn more about GMOs’ impact on their overall health; and 67% are interested in learning more about the overall safety of GMOs
- 43% of consumers believe that food (in general) sold in the U.S. is safe for consumption, meaning there is widespread distrust as a whole when it comes to food production, despite the U.S. having the safest food supply in the world.
Food from GMO crops — which are developed using techniques that enable us to take a beneficial trait (like insect resistance or drought tolerance) from one organism and transfer it into a crop plant — have been consumed for decades, and despite over 20 years of evidence confirming that GMOs are safe for human consumption, widespread misinformation about GMO health and safety remains. GMO Answers conducted the survey to better understand public perceptions of GMOs and launched the findings as part of the start of “Get to Know GMOs Month,” an annual event held in October to encourage conversations about GMOs, explain new advancements, and dispel common misconceptions around the health and safety of GMOs.