UK research into GM food opinions could have far reaching implications

Posted by Editorial on 18th September 2009

The UK Food Standards Agency has launched a study into the consumer perceptions of Genetically Modified (GM) food amid assertions that it may not be possible to maintain a GM-free supply chain in coming years.

The Agency has been asked by the Government to lead a dialogue project to explore the subject of GM with consumers. The project will provide an opportunity to discuss with consumers their understanding of GM and what they think it might bring in terms of risks and benefits. It will also explore how people can be helped to make informed choices about the food they eat.

There remain a number of vocal critics to GM food production, while a number of food manufacturers have responded by promising to avoid GM ingredients. Recent studies have suggested that the majority of consumers are still lacking information on the subject and are reserving their judgments.

The FSA, as an independent Government department, will set up a small steering group, which will include stakeholders involved in different areas and with different views of GM. At this stage, it is anticipated that this work will take around 12 months.

Governments around the world are unsure about making a commitment to GM food production, with Australia no exception. Some states have relaxed laws to allow GM food trials while others have kept a moratorium in place.