Article title: An Open Mind Wants More: Opinion Strength and the Desire for Genetically Modified Food Labeling Policy Author: Sonja Radas, Mario Teisi, and Brian Roe
Written/Published date: October 1, 2008
Source: Journal of Consumer Affairs
Two main opposing viewpoints exist with regard to GMO food policy labeling; some sources suggest that consumers are unconcerned and do not want any labeling, while others indicate the opposite. However, one flaw existing in past research is that many GM labeling studies regard the issue as one in which the consumer’s only desire for information is about whether or not the foods they purchase are in fact genetically modified. Another flaw is that old studies often refer to the GM technology in vague and/or imprecise terms, leaving it up to the consumer to make finer distinctions. The objective of this study was to identify if consumers differ in their risk/benefit evaluation of genetically modified foods and how these differences may translate into various different preferences as pertaining to GM labeling policy. A mail survey was administered to a nationally representative population sample of 5,462 U. S. residents and an additional oversample of 710 Maine residents. The response rates were 37 and 53 percent, respectively. Questions on the surveys were aimed at respondents’ perceptions of different food technologies, knowledge of the prevalence of GM foods, perceptions of potential benefits and risks of GM food consumption, reactions to GM labeling movements or programs, and willingness to purchase or avoid GM products. Factor analysis on the benefit variables yields two factors: own benefits, which relate most directly to consumers, and produce benefits, which impact the producer. Factor analysis of risks yielded two factors also: health/environmental risk as...