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Question

Why are people afraid of GMOs?

I have looked on this website and couldn't find the answer or anything similar, I would appreciate if a answer could be provided, Thanks!

Submitted by: Ashton Weaver


Answer

Expert response from Community Manager

Moderator for GMOAnswers.com

Friday, 04/05/2018 14:04

There are many reasons people are afraid or wary of GMOs. In 2015, The Washington Post, published an article on why people are scared of GMOs. The article explores how this mindset began, consumer sentiment around GMOs and what exactly people are scared of.

“Just as more Americans grow wary of GMOs, the scientific community is moving in the opposite direction. There is now near unanimity among scientists that GMOs are safe to eat. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the World Health Organization and the American Medical Association have all said that GMOs are fine for consumption.

"Yet the divergence between scientists and the American public has only grown bigger. As of last fall, nearly 60 percent of Americans believed that GMOs were "generally unsafe." Back in 2000, the population was pretty much evenly split.

"There are many reasons for this, says Jayson Lusk, an agricultural economist at Oklahoma State University, who has been studying people's aversion to GMOs ever since they were introduced in the late 1990s. Lusk likens the split to the disagreement that once existed between the scientific community and general public about climate change but warns that it can be hard to change people's minds about biotechnology..."

“Most people don’t have a lot of knowledge about GMOs. The average person hasn’t spent much time thinking about it. Nonetheless, if they were to see a label about them, they would likely be averse to them. It’s something that seems a little unnatural, and there’s a psychological tendency to desire naturalness in food and avoid some forms of novelty in food. That plays into a psychological bias that we have against them.”

In a similar response, Stuart Smyth, Assistant Professor, Department of Bioresource Policy, Business and Economics, University of Saskatchewan, discusses when/how opposition to GMOs began.

“It is my view that the opposition started when the environmental non-governmental organizations (eNGOs) realized that the public knew very little about science and particularly the science of how plants are bred and how food is produced. These eNGOs successfully lobbied within the European Union to have a moratorium on GM crop production and import that lasted from 1999 to 2003. eNGOs began campaigning in 1999 against GMOs, using online marketing strategies that were designed to scare the public with misleading and false information about the technology. It was at this time that eNGO activists dressed up in all kinds of fictional costumes designed to draw media attention to themselves and their erroneous stories of harm and danger…”

We hope this answers your question, if you have any additional questions, please ask!