U.S. Uneasy About Biotech Food
Americans Lack Knowledge, Faith in FDA's Accuracy, Poll Finds
By Rick Weiss
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 7, 2006; Page A16
Ten years after genetically engineered crops were first planted commercially in the United States, Americans remain ill-informed about and uncomfortable with biotech food, according to the fifth annual survey on the topic, released yesterday.
People vastly underestimate how much gene-altered food they are already consuming, lean toward wanting greater regulation of such crops and have less faith than ever that the Food and Drug Administration will provide accurate information, the survey found.
The poll also confirmed that most Americans, particularly women, do not like the idea of consuming meat or milk from cloned animals -- a view that stands in contrast to scientific evidence that cloned food is safe. The FDA recently said it is close to allowing such food on the market.
Michael Fernandez, executive director of the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology, which sponsored the survey, said that overall, Americans are "still generally uncertain" about genetically modified and cloned foods. "How the next generation of biotech products is introduced -- and consumers' trust in the regulation of GM foods -- will be critical in shaping U.S. attitudes in the long term."