Genetically modified crops – used by many producers to improve yields, protect against disease and limit inputs – can create confusion for consumers who do not understand why they are used, or who have serious questions about their safety.
A survey released Wednesday commissioned by the GMO Answers group and the Council for Biotechnology – comprised of BASF, Bayer CropScience, Dow AgroSciences LLC, DuPont, Monsanto Company and Syngenta – compiled the top 10 questions consumers ask about GMOs to help consumers get the answers they demand.
Over the next several weeks, GMO Answers will invite scientists, farmers, doctors and other experts to answer one of the top 10 questions each week on the GMO Answers website and via Twitter.
Related: ERS Report Recaps 15 Years of GMOs
Conducted by Iposos, the poll was a national, random telephone survey of 1,006 American adults ages 18 and older. Participants were asked: "The following are questions some people have asked about GMOs. Which of the following questions around the use of GMOs would you be most interested in having answered?"
From a list of 23 environmental, business and health-related questions regarding GMOs, respondents identified these questions as the top 10 they want answered:
1. If GMOs cause cancer
2. If GMOs are causing an increase in allergies
3. If big companies are forcing farmers to grow GMOs
4. If GMOs are increasing the price of food
5. If GMOs are contaminating organic food crops
6. Why long-term health studies aren't conducted on GMO plants
7. If GMOs are causing an increase in the use of pesticides
8. Why GMO companies seem like they are so against labeling GMO foods
9. If GMOs are contributing to the death of bees and butterflies
10. If livestock eat genetically modified grain, will there be GMOs in my meat
"A national dialogue is taking place about GMOs and it's important for us to listen to the questions consumers are asking so we can provide the information to help address their concerns," Cathleen Enright, Ph.D., spokesperson for GMO Answers, said in a statement. "We are committed to transparency about how our food is grown, including an open discussion about GMOs.
"Our goal is to ensure consumers have the information they need to make up their own minds about GMOs," she added.
Questions keep coming
Since its launch in July, 2013, more than 500 questions about GMOs, food and agriculture have been answered by experts on GMO Answers.
Several questions have been popular on the GMO Answers website, but were not selected among the top 10. Those include: if the development of GMOs is unnatural; if GMOs are causing gluten intolerance; if GMOs are contributing to obesity; if GMOs are contributing to infertility; if GMO companies are suing farmers; and if GMOS are contributing to the growth of super weeds.
"We recognize that consumers have questions about our products, and we need to do a better job explaining our technology, role in agriculture and the safety of our crops," Enright said.
"In the coming weeks, we invite consumers to come back and follow the answers to the top 10 questions offered by experts at GMO Answers and become a part of this important conversation."
Source: GMO Answers