UF Study Shows Consumers Opinions Do Not Respond to Scientific Data

A new study by the UF Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences reveals that consumer opinions on GM foods do not improve even after being exposed to new information.

The studied surveyed 961 people and asked their feelings about statements like “Genetically modified crops are safe to eat.” The data from this round of questions showed that 36 percent of respondents did not believe GM foods were safe to eat, and 32 percent were unsure.

The survey participants were then given scientific information touting the safety of GMOs, like this quote from the Nation Research Council saying, “To date, no adverse health effects attributed to genetic engineering have been documented in the human population.”

The participants were surveyed again, and 43 percent of respondents said their negative opinions on GMOs was not swayed by the information, and 12 percent of respondents said they now believe GM foods are less safe than before.

The study’s author and UF assistant professor of food and resources economics Brain McFadden said this is most likely because people often form beliefs and never let them go.

“This is critical and hopefully demonstrates that as a society we should be more flexible in our beliefs before collecting information from multiple sources,” McFadden said. “Also, this indicates that scientific findings about a societal risk likely have diminishing value over time.”

Read more information about the study here: http://news.ifas.ufl.edu/2015/06/ufifas-study-new-information-changes-few-opinions-on-gmos-global-warming/#more-8804

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