Monday, July 14, 2014
California Agriculture Online:
Results from consumer surveys reveal some basic conclusions about consumer attitudes toward agricultural biotechnology. First, consumers do not agree about whether biotech foods are good or bad. Second, a small group of people strongly opposes them. Third, the majority of consumers are uninformed about the technology and how food is produced. Relatively small but vocal anti-biotechnology activist groups are successful at influencing public opinion because of consumers' lack of knowledge, creating a role for universities and government agencies to provide clear, objective and accessible information.
While education is unlikely to settle the debate about the relative costs and benefits of agricultural biotechnology, it would at least enable consumers to understand the choices they make when they do their food shopping. Education poses a challenge because any educational materials must compete with a multitude of other messages totally unrelated to food or biotechnology. Further, messages about agricultural biotechnology are abundant, some are difficult for the layperson to understand and information presented by different sources is often contradictory. Government agencies and universities can play an important role in providing and disseminating objective and accessible information to consumers about biotechnology and food production.
Posted by JOlmsted at 10:15 AM