Consumers want all genetically modified (GM) food products to be labelled, including those where GM is used as a processing aid or in animal feed, according to new qualitative research commissioned by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
The report, Exploring Attitudes to GM Food, found that consumers were confused by GM and wanted clear and accessible information from a variety of sources, including supermarkets. In particular, people wanted to know about the potential long-term societal and personal impacts of GM and the potential consequences for animal welfare. Negative attitudes about GM foods focused on perceived health and environmental risks and scepticism about the motivations of producers and regulators.
As part of the research, participants in the survey took part in workshops where they were given a presentation by an FSA representative, who provided an overview of issues relating to GM food, including the role of the FSA. Attitudes following the presentation tended to be either more positive towards GM foods or there was no change in overall attitudes. The FSA has set up a steering group to canvass public opinion on GM foods.
A Soil Association spokesperson said: "One clear result of the study is that there should be compulsory labelling on meat and dairy products from animals fed on GM feed."