Want to know more about GMOs? You’re not alone.
This post was originally published on GMO Answers' Medium page.
Throughout the quarter century that GMOs have been a part of our food supply, they have been proven safe time and again by the leading scientific authorities around the world. Yet, a recently released YouGov survey found that the majority of Americans are still confused about GMOs and are concerned about the health and safety implications of the technology.
However, concern and confusion do not equate to rejection, as the survey also found that nearly the same number of Americans want to learn more about GMOs, suggesting a lack of knowledge is driving overall discomfort.
In the spirit of Get to Know GMOs Month this October, we’re breaking down the survey’s top findings and debunking the biggest GMO misperceptions:
69% of U.S. 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.
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 without a single food safety incident. The 20+ years of scientific research on GMOs confirms that genetically modified crops are safe to eat, have the same nutrition and composition as non-genetically modified crops, and have no links to new allergies, cancer, celiac or other diseases.
74% of Americans want to learn more about GMOs’ impact on their overall health and 67% are interested in learning more about the overall safety of GMOs.
Again, scientific experts are aligned on the health and safety of GMOs. The National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NAS) reviewed more than 900 research and other publications on the effects of GMOs and found no substantiated risks to human health. Recently, the Board of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, voted to support this report as the most reputable and complete scientific analysis available to guide policy decisions.
43% of Americans believe that food (in general) sold in the U.S. is safe for consumption.
Interestingly, Americans are not just skeptical of GMOs, but distrust U.S. food production as a whole, even though the country has the safest food supply in the world.
51% of U.S. consumers are concerned and 42% are confused about the impact of GMOs on the environment.
GMOs can actually reduce the environmental impact of farming and deliver a host of other sustainability benefits, such as helping to reduce food waste and improve air quality. In 2015 alone, nearly 60 billion pounds of atmospheric carbon dioxide emissions were reduced by conservation tillage and decreased fuel use made possible by genetically modified crops — that’s equal to removing nearly 12 million cars from the roads for one year!
This survey and many others like it indicate that Americans are eager for the truth behind GMOs. At GMO Answers, we will continue to ensure our resources grounded in facts and science are accessible to all in search of answers.
To continue learning more about GMOs or to ask a question of your own and have it answered by an independent expert, click here.