New Global Survey Finds Growing Opposition to GE Foods

Articles Included:

Major survey on GE foods released!

Awareness of Genetically Modified Foods Wide But Knowledge Inch Deep
55% Admit They Know Little About The Issue

Significant Knowledge Gap In Debate Over Modified Foods
Most Concerned About Health And Safety Risks

Major survey on GE foods released!

10 Jun 2000

A major worldwide research study on consumers awareness of genetically
engineered foods has been released. As the press release from the Angus
Reid Group states, "The more North American consumers hear about genetically
modified (GM) foods, the less they like them."

The report of the survey is called "New Thoughts for Food: Consumer
Reaction to Biotechnology in Foods." The biotech industry is probably not going to
like the results of this survey because it indicates growing negative
feelings towards genetically engineered foods worldwide. Even in the
United States, in spite of the public relations efforts of the biotech industry,
"Americans are growing more disenchanted with the concept." Consumer
negativity towards genetically modified foods in the United States has
grown from 45% in 1998 to 51% in 2000. The negativity figure is up to 82% in
Japan, 73% in Germany and 71% in France.

2,001 adult consumers from the United States and Canada were surveyed.
Another 3,000 people from Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Japan and
the United Kingdom were surveyed.

Posted below are two press releases. The first one discusses the results
from the United States and Canada. The second discusses the results from a
global perspective.

In addition to the press releases below, if you have Adobe Acrobat on your
computer, you can view some great charts that show the results of the
survey..

The first chart shows the awareness level of Americans and Canadians:
http://www.angusreid.com/media/content/pdf/mr000608_2ch.pdf

The second chart rates the growing negativity towards genetically modified
foods in all of the countries surveyed:
http://www.angusreid.com/MEDIA/CONTENT/pdf/mr000608_ch1.pdf

The third chart lists what consumers feel are the perceived benefits and
risks of genetically modified foods in all of the countries surveyed:
http://www.angusreid.com/MEDIA/CONTENT/pdf/mr000608_tb.pdf

Apparently the survey did not address the issue of labeling. However, the
issues it did address show that there is significant worldwide concern and
opposition to genetically engineered foods. There is little doubt that the
demand for labeling will continue to grow in the United States.
_____________________________________________________

Awareness of Genetically Modified Foods Wide But Knowledge Inch Deep
55% Admit They Know Little About The Issue

New York, June 8, 2000 - The more North American consumers hear about
genetically modified (GM) foods, the less they like them, new research
from the Angus Reid Group shows. But while awareness of the issue remains
high - 65 percent of Americans and 79 percent of Canadians have heard of the
issue - understanding remains low.

In fact, only 4 percent of Americans and 5 percent of Canadians feel they
know "a lot" about genetically modified foods. Slightly more (15 percent
of Americans and 24 percent of Canadians) feel they have "some"
understanding. More prevalent, however, is the feeling that they only know "a little."

More than half (54 percent) of Americans and more than two-thirds (68
percent) of Canadians want to learn more about GM foods, especially about
the technology of genetic modification. Another 13 percent of Americans and 9
percent of Canadians are possibly open to learning more.

"An interesting paradox is emerging," says Joanna Karman, managing
director of the company's agri-foods research division and co-author of the Angus
Reid report New Thoughts for Food: Consumer Reaction to Biotechnology in Foods.
"Consumers say they want to learn more about genetic modification and they
need more information about the technology itself. Some are even
interested in learning what benefits there are to GM foods.

"But at this point in the debate, consumers aren't yet convinced that
genetically altered foods represent scientific advancement. They simply
haven't made that leap yet. Most believe this issue is about health and
safety. That's where we believe the debate should focus."

BENEFITS AND RISKS

About 43 percent of Americans and 41 per cent of Canadians surveyed
recently by Angus Reid say that in the long run the potential benefits will
outweigh the potential risks. Further, one-quarter of Americans and 29 percent of
Canadians are concerned about the unknown impact or experimental nature of
GM foods. About 28 percent of Americans and 32 percent of Canadians cite food
safety and health concerns when asked about perceived risks. Nearly as
many (25 percent of Americans and 29 percent of Canadians) say they are
concerned about the unknown impact of GM foods.

Slightly more Americans (15 percent) than Canadians (9 percent) don't
think there are any disadvantages associated with GM foods. Another 12 per cent
of Americans and 14 percent of Canadians are unsure about any risks.

Some 20 per cent of Americans and nearly one quarter of Canadians (24
percent) expect GM foods to provide no benefits or advantages at all. The
main benefits noted by about one-third of North Americans are believed to
involve improved efficiency or higher yields in food production, an
improvement in food quality and a reduced need for pesticides.

"Genetic modification is becoming one of the most important challenges
facing the agriculture and food industries in North America," Karman says. "But
given that consumers don't readily see what's in it for them personally,
their reaction is, in fact, quite normal and rational. They see themselves
as shouldering the risks, but not reaping the benefits. It should be no
surprise that there is a pushback. Consumers are becoming less confident and less
comfortable with this technology.

"In both countries, genetically modified food has become less of a science
and technology issue and much more of a matter of health and safety,"
Karman said.

Currently the main message consumers are taking home is that GM foods are
not safe, she adds. They have already begun to demand non-GM foods and are
likely to continue to.

About New Thoughts for Food New Thoughts for Food is a global, syndicated
study designed to provide key players in the biotechnology food debate
with a better understanding of consumer perceptions of genetically modified food.
For more information, please visit http://www.purefood.org/ge/www.angusreid.com/services/p_agrifd.htm

Methodology

Angus Reid Group Worldwide surveyed 2,001 adult consumers in both
countries earlier this year, and an additional 3,000 consumers in six countries.
(Findings from the global survey can be found at
http://www.purefood.org/ge/www.angusreid.com/MEDIA/CONTENT/displaypr.cfm?id_to_view=1039.

**********************************************************************

Significant Knowledge Gap In Debate Over Modified Foods
Most Concerned About Health And Safety Risks


Paris, June 8, 2000 - Consumers around the world are taking home a
negative message about genetically modified (GM) foods, as more consumers see the
issue as one where the risks outweigh the benefits, according to a new
poll of 5,000 adults by Angus Reid Group Worldwide. Increasingly, it seems that
consumers see the issue as one of food safety and public health rather
than progress in science and technology.

Over half of consumers in Japan, France, Germany, Australia and Canada see
the issue in a health and safety context. In the United States, 44 percent
see it in that context, as do 39 percent of shoppers in the United
Kingdom.

Only in Brazil, where awareness of the issue is the lowest is it seen
largely as a science and technology matter (61 percent). The findings were
released as delegates met in Toronto for The Agricultural Biotechnology
International conference.

"Due in part to the negative press the issue has been receiving, it's not
surprising that the trend toward GM foods is seen negatively by at least
half of consumers in 7 of the 8 countries polled," says Joanna Karman, managing
director of the company's agri-foods division and co-author of the Angus
Reid Group report New Thoughts for Food: Consumer Reaction to Biotechnology in
Foods.

"Consumers aren't yet convinced that genetically altered foods represent
scientific advancement," says Karman. "It seems that genetically modified
food has become less of a science and technology issue and much more of a
matter of health and safety in the minds of consumers we spoke to."

Among the eight countries polled, the trend toward GM foods was seen most
negatively in Japan (82 percent), followed by Germany (73 percent) and
France (71 percent). Americans are growing more disenchanted with the concept.
Forty-five percent of Americans held a negative view when polled by the
Angus Reid Group in 1998, compared to 51 per cent earlier this year. The same
holds for Canadians -- 59 percent hold negative views about GM foods, up from 45
percent two years ago. In Brazil, just 45 percent of shoppers view this
trend negatively.

When it came to identifying the benefits or advantages of GM foods, the
most commonly mentioned benefit is productivity-related (improved efficiencies
/ higher yields in food production), mentioned by 31%. On the consumer end
of it, 15% mention better quality foods and another 15% mention fewer
pesticides. As well, 1 in 10 mention the potential for improved
nutritional value of GM foods.

Of particular note is that 25 percent of those surveyed expect GM foods to
provide no benefits or advantages. An additional 10 percent were unsure of
any benefits that might result.

"Genetic modification has become one of the top three issues facing the
agriculture and food industry in many countries, ranking up there with
pesticide use and topped only by the future of agriculture as it relates
to farmers and loss of the family farm," Karman says.

While awareness is fairly high on a global scale, more than four in 10
consumers - ranging from 44 percent to 58 percent - still say they only
understand "a little" about GM foods. Understanding is greatest in
Germany, Australia and the U.K. Americans and Brazilians are least likely to say
they understand the issue.

"At this point in the debate, consumers aren't yet convinced that
genetically altered foods represent scientific advancement. They simply haven't made
that leap yet. Most believe this issue is about health and safety. That's where
we believe the debate should focus based on what consumers are telling us."

About the study

New Thoughts for Food is a global, syndicated study designed to provide
key players in the biotechnology food debate with a better understanding of
consumer perceptions of genetically modified food.

Methodology

Angus Reid Group Worldwide surveyed 5,005 adult consumers earlier this
year on genetically modified foods in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France,
Germany, Japan, United Kingdom and United States. More information on the New
Thoughts for Food: Consumer Reaction to Biotechnology in Foods study is available
at http://www.purefood.org/ge/www.angusreid.com/services/p_agrifd.htm

About Angus Reid

Established in 1979, the Angus Reid Group is among the world's leading
research companies, providing a full array of marketing and social
research services to the private and public sectors. Founded by Dr. Angus Reid, the
Angus Reid Group has conducted extensive research in 80 countries and in
40 languages and serves clients around the world through 11 offices and
300-full-time and 800 part-time staff.

For more information on this release, please contact:

Joanna Karman
Senior Vice President and Managing Director, AgriFood
Angus Reid Group
(204) 949-3100


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