WASHINGTON, May 28, 2014 -- While a majority of Americans continue to support the FDA’s labeling policy for food produced through biotechnology, the number of those opposed to the policy has increased since 2012, according to the 2014 International Food Information Council survey on “Consumer Perceptions of Food Technology.”  

According to the survey, 63 percent of consumers support the FDA’s current policy, which calls for labeling only when biotechnology substantially changes the food’s nutritional content, or when a potential safety issue is identified. However, 19 percent voiced opposition, compared to 14 percent in 2012.

 “Years of legislation, ballot measures, and mischaracterization of food biotechnology have not affected overall support of FDA’s biotech labeling policy,” David Schmidt, IFIC’s president and CEO, said in a news release. “However, they have likely played a role in the modest increase we’re seeing in those who oppose it.”

The survey, the 16th conducted by the group since 1997, involved 1,000 U.S. adults polled using an online tool. Market Strategies International of Livonia, Michigan, fielded the poll between March 28 and April 7.

The poll showed a split among consumers when asked about their overall view of plant biotechnology, with 28 percent holding a favorable view and the same percentage holding an unfavorable opinion, Lindsey Loving, IFIC’s senior director of food ingredient and technology, noted on a conference all coinciding with the survey’s release. Some 43 percent said they are neutral or that they don’t know enough to form an opinion. Only 20 percent of consumers held an unfavorable view of plant biotechnology in 2012

Loving also said 38 percent of Millennials – consumers between 18 and 34 years of age – have favorable  impressions of food biotechnology, compared with 25 percent of consumers ages 35-54, at 25 percent, and 55 and older, at 24 percent.  


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