The attitude of American public towards GM food



GMO food production has identified seven main areas which concern the human safety test in the consumption of the foods and include the study of the DNA and the nutritional contents which are introduced in the new food product and the analysis of the chemical composition of the plant parts as well as the allergens. The human safety test also includes the estimate of the toxicological or nutritional problems which may be encountered by the consumer and the risk of transferring microorganisms in the gene transfer process (Weise, 44). The use of genetically modified (GM) ingredients in food production has attracted a lot of controversy. Public attitude towards these products has being highly negative in most of the developing countries especially Japan and some European countries. The consumer negative attitude in these countries has being attributed to the skepticism on the unknown health and environmental effects of the GMO foods (Tait 4). The negative attributes of the GMO foods has being identified as the spre4ad of the pest resistance herbicide, body allergic responses and the herbicide tolerance on the wildlife plants and the consequent toxicity of the wildlife. However, the full benefits of biotechnology will only be realized when the producers consider the GMO foods to be safe to their health and beneficial. Although many public attitudes towards the GMO foods have been done in the recent past, the public attitudes towards biotechnology seem to be sharply different between countries and the time of the study (Knowledge 5). The consumer attitudes towards biotechnology have been surveyed in Europe and USA over the past decades. From the global perspective, GMO foods have been one of the contentious issues in the society due to economical and technical benefits which are offset by the human health and the environmental impact (Nikki 34). The increase in multinational corporations and economic power of the GMO manufacturing companies has impacted the quality of the GMO foods and threatened the traditional farming in rural societies in most of the rural developed countries. This paper will review the attitudes of the American public towards the GMO foods over the recent years. Studies in US have indicated that consumers have positive attitude towards the GMO foods compared with consumers in Europe and Japan. For instance, a study carried out by Daniel and Mark in 2001 indicated that 70 percent of the respondents were willing to pay a higher price for GMO foods (Heslop 214). In the US, the consumer makes the decision to purchase the GMO foods based on the uncertainties and the probabilities which are assigned to the consumer risk of the consumption of the GMO foods. The consumption of the foods results to certain payoff utilities which the consumers perceive to receive from the consumption (Macilwain 54). The perceived risks from the consumption of the GMO foods are derived from the future costs which the consumer expects to incur from the decision to consume GMO foods and carry probabilities which are different from one consumer to the other. The perceived risk stems from one of the following sources with the first one being the influence of the media in the

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