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Pew Study on Attitudes towards GMOs & Organics Gains Media Attention

December 5, 2016

A number of mainstream media outlets reported over the weekend on the Pew Research Center report released last week examining the differing views on organic foods and GMOs.

NPR:  A lot of Americans don't care what scientists think about GMOs.

For instance, 39 percent of the survey participants believe that GM foods are worse for your health than non-GM food. However, there's essentially no scientific evidence to support that belief – a conclusion confirmed most recently by a National Academy of Sciences report.

Among GMO cornthe relatively small group who say they care about the issue of GM foods "a great deal" (16 percent of the public), three-quarters believe that GMOs are bad for your health. At the same time, it's notable that almost half the respondents – 46 percent to be precise – say that they care about the issue of GMOs "not too much" or "not at all."

Americans believe that there's no scientific consensus on GMOs. Just over 50 percent of respondents believe that "about half or fewer" of scientists agree that GM foods are safe to eat. Only 14 percent's beliefs match the reality – that "almost all" scientists agree that GM foods are safe to eat.

And finally, there is deep cynicism about the motives of scientists. According to the survey, Americans feel that research findings are influenced in equal measure by the following factors: the best available scientific evidence; desire to help their industries; and desire to advance their careers. In the view of the public, all of those factors are more important to scientists than concern for the public interest.

Scientists can take heart, though, from one other finding of the survey. People still trust them more then politicians. Remarkably, only 24 percent of Americans want their elected officials to have a major role in such policies.

CBS News: Americans are split on the value of organic foods and concerns about GMOs.

The Pew Research Center poll of 1,480 adults nationwide found that 55 percent said organically grown produce is healthier than conventionally grown produce, while 41 percent said there’s no difference.

Nearly four out of 10 respondents said GM foods are worse for health than other foods, while almost half said there is no difference. Ten percent said GM foods are healthier, the researchers found.

LA Times:  People don’t just have opinions, they have full-blown food “ideologies.”

“The way Americans eat has become a source of potential social, economic and political friction,” the researchers wrote in their report.

Here’s the twist: These food fights are largely nonpartisan. Democrats and Republicans are about equally likely to find themselves in either camp.