GMO Answers Releases New Survey Showing Most Americans Remain Confused About GMOs Despite Overwhelming Health & Safety Consensus Among Experts

Survey Kicks Off Annual "Get to Know GMOs Month" & Underscores Widespread Consumer Demand for Facts about GMOs as USDA Finalizes its GMO Labeling Rule

GMO Answers, an initiative committed to responding to consumer questions about how their food is grown, today released the findings of a new YouGov survey finding that a majority of Americans aren’t confident they definitely know what genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are, and that this lack of knowledge may be driving overall uncertainty and discomfort. However, concern and confusion do not equate to rejection, as the survey finds that nearly the same number of Americans want to learn more about GMOs.

Food from GMO crops – which are developed using techniques that enable us to take a beneficial trait (like insect resistance or drought tolerance) from one organism and transfer it into a crop plant – have been consumed for decades, and despite over 20 years of evidence confirming that GMOs are safe for human consumption, widespread misinformation about GMO health and safety remains. GMO Answers conducted the survey to better understand public perceptions of GMOs and launches the findings on the first day of “Get to Know GMOs Month,” an annual event held in October to encourage conversations about GMOs, explain new advancements, and dispel common misconceptions around the health and safety of GMOs.

The survey’s key findings, which come shortly before the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) plans to publish its final bioengineered food disclosure labeling standard, include:

  • 69% of consumers are not confident they know what GMOs are, and less than a third of Americans (32%) say they are comfortable with the use of GMOs in their food products.
  • Roughly 3 in 5 Americans are interested in learning more about GMOs.
    • 74% want to learn more about GMOs’ impact on their overall health.
    • 67% are interested in learning more about the overall safety of GMOs.
  • 43% of consumers believe that food (in general) sold in the US is safe for consumption, meaning there is widespread distrust as a whole when it comes to food production, despite the U.S. having the safest food supply in the world.

“Despite GMOs being part of our food supply for almost a quarter of a century, and global scientific consensus on the health and safety of this technology, Americans remain as confused as ever about how GMOs impact their lives and the world around them,” said Michael Stebbins, Director of External Engagement for the Council for Biotechnology Information (CBI) and GMO Answers spokesperson. “That is why we at GMO Answers are committed to answering any questions about GMOs with information backed by validated, independent, and peer-reviewed science. We will continue this mission to address GMO concerns and provide the answers consumers are looking for in a transparent and easy-to-access manner.”

All survey figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1213 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 13th - 14th September 2018.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults (aged 18+).

About GMO Answers

GMO Answers is committed to responding to your questions about how our food is grown. Our goal is to make information about agricultural biotechnology easier to access and evaluate. The members of GMO Answers commit to five core principles – welcoming and answering questions on all GMO topics; making GMO information, research and data easy to access and evaluate, and supporting safety testing of GM products, including allowing independent safety testing of our products through validated science-based methods; supporting farmers as they work to grow crops using precious resources more efficiently,  with less impact on the environment and producing safe, nutritious food and feed products; respecting farmers' rights to choose the seeds that are best for their farms, businesses and communities and providing seed choices that include non-GM seeds based on market demands; and respecting people around the world and their right to choose healthy food products that are best for themselves and their families. GMO Answers is produced by the members of the Council for Biotechnology Information, which includes BASF, Bayer CropScience, Corteva Agriscience, and Syngenta. Our members are dedicated to the responsible development and application of plant biotechnology. Visit GMOAnswers.com.