When it comes to genetically modified foods, there is a perception in a large segment of the general public based mostly in hesitation, confusion, and fear. Even though almost half of Floridians acknowledge buying genetically modified foods, a recent survey conducted by the Center for Public Issues Education (PIE) in Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Florida reveals that most people want to know much more about those foods.
“The study shows that Floridians believe they don’t know much about genetically modified foods and their benefits,” said Joy Rumble, UF/IFAS Assistant Professor in agricultural education and communication.
The PIE Center surveyed 500 Floridians on their perceptions of genetically modified foods. Respondents were largely unsure about the potential benefits of genetically modified food, with more than 40% neither agreeing nor disagreeing that food technology — such as GMOs — allows people to live longer or better lives.
However, there is a great potential to educate Floridians about the topic, as 64% of respondents indicated that they would like to learn more about genetically modified foods. Only 22% of Floridians agreed or strongly agreed that they received information about genetically modified food from a scientist, but 59% of respondents would like to learn more from universities.
In addition, many Floridians were favorable toward supporting research, with 42% agreeing that studies about genetically modified food are essential for improving the quality of life. Almost half agreed the federal government should support research on genetically modified food.
Fewer than half of Florida’s residents say they would purchase genetically modified food or clothing, even if it cost less or was their favorite food. But, more than 40% of Floridians agreed or strongly agreed they have purchased genetically modified food in the past, while only 27% of Floridians believe they currently purchase genetically modified food.