Consumers warm to GM food

Public support for genetically modified food is increasing, a report by the Food Standards Agency has suggested.

The British Social Attitudes survey examined people’s attitudes to emerging food technologies.

Experts studied attitudes to GM food, high-pressure food treatments, gas-filled packaging and hypothetical foods that have health benefits.

Compared with 1999, when the same questions were asked, fewer people now said they have a strong attitude to GM food.

Public support for GM food gradually increased over the period of the study from 10% in 1999 to 19% in 2008.

Researchers found that the more familiar people were with the names of food technologies the less concerned they were about them.

For example, 31% of people were concerned about eating food cooked in a microwave, whereas 57% were concerned about eating food from a magnetron – another name for the same type of oven.

The survey charts changes in British social, economic, political and moral values.

Research data is provided to government departments.

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