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Gene-Altered Foods ? Still Not Sure

Ignorance might well be bliss for the American public. A decade after genetically altered crops were first cultivated in the continent//, Americans still remain ignorant and disinclined towards them.

According to a survey sponsored by The Pew Initiative for Food and Biotechnology, the last five years have seen little change in the depth of knowledge on the subject.

Says executive director of the survey’s sponsor, Michael Fernandez, “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."

Ignorance of the subject is actually propelling Americans towards what most of them don’t want to do; eat genetically modified or GM food.

Few know that over the last five years, almost all of soybean, cotton and more than half of corn grown are genetically modified. Since most processed foods contain tiny amounts of soy lecithin and corn syrup people are actually eating gene altered food without realizing it.

At times some attention is drawn to the dangers of GM foods, like the finding that Star Link corn was unfit for human consumption and that long grain rice grown in the US was accidentally contaminated with a modified gene, but in general, few are aware of the silent takeover of GM crops.

In a survey conducted this year by Mellmans group, a few interesting statistics have come to light.

Less than a quarter of Americans are aware that they are eating gene altered foods, support for GM foods has not increased over the last 5 years, slightly more amount of people believe GM foods are safe and out of those who claim a basic knowledge of GM foods less than 41 per cent expect stricter rules from the FDA.

The survey has also shown the influence of religion on America’ s attitude towards genetically modif ied food such as cloned animals. Around 70 per cent people voting against cloned animals as food, go to church every Sunday, while those who pay occasional visits to their local church and do not mind eating such food constitute thirty percent.

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