People trust science behind genetic foods

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Proper explanations of the science involved in producing genetically modified foods would go a long way toward increasing public acceptance of the products, a Purdue University study contends.

Charles Santerre, a foods and nutrition associate professor at the West Lafayette, Ind., university, said providing people with information about what is involved in adapting foods helps to boost their acceptance. "Consumer education is an important aspect in the adoption of any new technology, and especially so when it comes to safe, economical food production," Santerre said.

"Without a fundamental understanding of the science behind food biotechnology, it's very difficult for consumers to discern between credible and false information," he said.

A survey of 576 people found 31 percent believed genetically modified crops were being properly regulated by the federal government and 25 percent were confident alterations would not make existing food allergenic. But after those people were provided with one hour of what Santerre called training on food biotechnology, those totals increased to 83 percent and 63 percent, respectively.

"We also found that 90 percent of those who received the training would eat and serve genetically modified foods to their families, and 90 percent believed that their families would benefit from genetically modified foods within the next five years," Santerre said.

The Agriculture Department and Monsanto Inc. both assisted the university in funding the research.

United Press International



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