GE - Recent polls show that Europeans Reject Mutant Foods

Recent polls show that...

...UK consumers do not want Genetically Engineered ingredients in their food

In October 1997 Morris Tabaksblat, joint Chair of Unilever stated "If in
some countries the public wants GMO free products then (Unilever) will try
to find them, whether this means buying other ingredients or reverting to
traditional raw materials. If we fail to respect consumers views, we should
not be doing our jobs properly"

This was said after Unilever commissioned a report by Lancaster
University, 'Uncertain World', (March 1997) which found that there is
"significant unease about the technology as a whole..(and) that much such
unease is latent rather than explicit". Since then there have been a number
of polls showing that the public clearly do not want genetically engineered
ingredients in their food: * 1997 - A Eurobarometer poll shows that only
three out of ten Europeans believed that the level of risk posed by genetic
modification was an acceptable price to pay for making Europe more

* March 1998 - A Gallup poll commissioned by Iceland Foods found that 63%
of respondents who were aware of genetically engineered food had
reservations. This figure rose to 77% when a definition was given

Of these the majority expressed 'serious reservations'. 72% of all
respondents said they were unlikely or very unlikely to purchase products
containing genetically modified ingredients

* June 1998 - A Guardian/ICM poll found that only 14 % of UK consumers
were happy with the introduction of GE food (50% not very/not at all happy -
36% didn't know). 96% believed foods that have been genetically modified
should be labelled and 95% that ingredients derived from genetically
modified materials should too - indicating a high willingness to be able to
avoid these foods

* June 1998 - MORI poll commissioned by Genewatch revealed that 58 per
cent opposed the genetic engineering of food. This was 7 percent more than
in an identical poll 2 years previous. Support for genetic engineering had
tumbled from 31 to 22 percent and 61 per cent said they would not eat
genetically engineered food. 77% believed that a moratorium should be placed
on the growing of GE foods

* June 1998 - 'Future of Food' citizens jury organised by University of
East London in conjunction with The Soil Association, Genetics Forum and
Sainsburys reported that the use of Genetic Engineering in food
'unnecessary'. They also called for cheaper organic food. The forum used
techniques of multi criteria analysis being developed in conjunction with

* June 1998 -1300 schools in six council areas took GE food out of school
dinners. Other councils are looking to follow this example

* July 1998 - NOP poll found more than six out of ten people were opposed
to the genetic modification of crops. Tony Lees, the consumer research
director with NOP, said that "The findings show that the majority of British
people are against genetically modified produce and that the principle
reason for this is a feeling that it is unnatural"

* Aug 1998 - Brand specialists Market Edge questioned 1000 consumers. 65%
of respondents supported Iceland's decision not to use GE ingredients. 26%
said they would start shopping with Iceland as a result.

* Aug 1998 - DTI minister Peter Mandelson is unwilling to commit
himself to
supporting GE tomato paste when asked by a journalist whether he would eat
it. New Labour it appears no longer regard genetically engineered brands as
part of New Britain

Organic Consumers Association (OCA)
6101 Cliff Estate Rd., Little Marais, Minnesota 55614
Activist or Media Inquiries: (218) 226-4164,  Fax: (218) 226-4157
Ronnie Cummins E-mail:

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