While criticism of genetically modified foods has received widespread media attention in the past few years, consumers remain generally supportive of food biotechnology, according to an industry-funded survey released Thursday.
The evaluation – conducted by the International Food Information Council (IFIC) – found that 38 percent of consumers have a somewhat or very favorable opinion towards plant biotechnology, up from 32 percent in 2010. A smaller 26 percent were neither favorable nor unfavorable, and 20 percent were either somewhat or very unfavorable.
The majority of the consumers also found no need to change the way foods produced with biotechnology are labeled. Current FDA standards require that only changes to nutritional content or composition of a food or a food safety issue must be identified on packaging.
In a similar display of trust in the food system, 69 percent of the 750 survey respondents reported being somewhat or very confident in the safety of the food supply, a level that has remained the same since the last “Consumer Perceptions of Food Technology” survey in 2010.
Respondents also relayed overall satisfaction with the information currently provided on food labels, with only 24 percent reporting additional information they would like to see on packaging.
Of those people who requested a change in food labeling, 18 percent reported wanting more information on food safety, a figure that jumped from only 3 percent in the 2010 survey.
The change most commonly desired by consumers was more nutrition information, with 36 percent of those who want altered food labeling requesting that more data on nutrition content be displayed.
Another thing increasingly on consumers’ minds these days is sustainability, according to the study.