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Biotechnology National Survey Identifies Ten Leading Consumer Questions About GMOs

Much is still unknown about the technology of genetically modifying crops, and many questions still arise regarding the risk of GMOs to health, among other things.

To quote an academic publication put out by the North Carolina State University for the purpose of providing answers to common questions about biotechnology, “Any new technology - particularly one as far-reaching as biotechnology - will generate interest, as well as concerns. Because the science behind biotechnology is complex, misconceptions arise over its impacts and implications.”

Thus, the plant biotechnology industry, through its website, GMO Answers, launched last year for the purpose of providing answers related to GMOs, commissioned Ipsos, a global market research, to conduct a national survey to find out the top questions consumers may have about GMOs.

Since its launching last July, GMO Answers have already received and replied to 500 questions. With a different approach, the biotech industry would like to identify the most important concerns Americans have about the controversial technology, and start a meaningful conversation with consumers.

The survey was conducted by telephone among 1006 American adults ages 18 and older, who were each asked to select from a list of 23 environmental-, business- and health-related questions on GMOs they would like to be answered.

The following are the 10 leading questions that came out from the survey, and which are going to be answered within the next several weeks by scientists, farmers, doctors and other experts, via the website GMO Answers and on Twitter:

Do GMOs cause cancer?
Are GMOs causing an increase in allergies?
Are big companies forcing farmers to grow GMOs?
Are GMOs increasing the price of food?
Are GMOs contaminating organic food crops?
Why aren’t long-term health studies conducted on GMO plants?
Are GMOs causing an increase in the use of pesticides?
Why do GMO companies seem like they are so against labeling GMO foods?
Are GMOs contributing to the death of bees and butterflies?
If livestock eat genetically modified grain, will there be GMOs in my meat?

The first question, “Do GMOs cause cancer? “ thus far has been answered on the website by Dr. Kevin Folta, University of Florida Interim Chairman and Associate Professor Horticultural Sciences Department, "The short answer is no, there is absolutely zero reputable evidence that GMO foods cause cancer.”

Each week, one question from this top ten list will be answered. As Cathleen Enright, Ph.D., spokesperson for GMO Answers said, “A national dialogue is taking place about GMOs, and it’s important for us to listen to the questions consumers are asking so we can provide the information to help address their concerns.”

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