Navigating the Grocery Store Aisle

unsafe. There was also a link between perceived morality and knowledge. Specifically, knowledge of the science behind bioengineering (that crops contain genes and GMO foods do not change consumer s’ genetics) had less of a positive impact on perceived safety for those who believed genetic modification to be immoral. Thus, a consumer’s moral beliefs influence both their perceptions of GMOs and the impact of scientific knowledge on the development of those perceptions. While Hasell and Stroud (2020) found no relationship between degree of religiosity (categorized by frequency of attendance at religious gatherings) and attitudes about GMOs, in a survey of EU consumers Hudson et al. (2015) noted that identification with a religious denomination does have an impact. Specifically, they found that Muslim, Catholic, and Orthodox Christian respondents were less likely to approve of GMOs than were those of other religions (including Protestants) or those who report being non-religious. In addition, degree of approval was higher for men, those who were more educated, and respondents who either had a father who studied science at a higher level or who had done so themselves. Age had a negative impact on attitudes toward transgenesis more specifically (genetic modification with genes from any organism) but not cisgenesis specifically (genetic modification with genes from naturally sexually compatible organisms).


In a study of 500 Polish secondary school students, Jurkiewicz et al. (2014), over 80% of respondents stated they know little to nothing about genetic modification, and more than half said they believe there are no reliable studies concerning the effects of GMOs on human health. Commonly stated positive benefits of GMOs included higher yield and productivity, improved disease resistance, reduced use of herbicides and mineral fertilizers, and the ability to improve cultivation on marginal soils and withstand climatic changes. Commonly stated negatives included superseding traditional plants, reducing biodiversity due to cross-pollination, growing herbicide resistant weeds and not being able to control GMO expansion. Most students said they view GMO animal husbandry negatively due to concerns about new diseases, uncontrolled animal evolution, and disappearance of traditional species. Nearly two-thirds of students said they have negative views of the use of GMOs for food production, and female respondents were more likely to respond negatively. Sixty-four percent of students said they believe that information about the benefits of GMO crops in the media are untrustworthy and unreliable. Using the same study of 500 Polish students, Lachowski et al. (2017) found that 80% of students had mediocre to no knowledge of GMOs based on an assessment test, which matches the self-assessments from above. The authors found a positive relationship between knowledge of GMOs and students’ attitudes toward GMOs and willingness to use GMOs in agricultural production. Students attending a technical agriculture school, versus a secondary school, said they are more willing to use GMOs in agricultural production. Ruth et al. (2016) studied 414 university students from the University of Florida to find out whether students’ attitudes about GMOs were affected by the source (government agency versus biotech company) of information about GMOs. Unlike researchers in prior research, these researchers found that the majority of students believed they were knowledgeable about GMO food, though they expressed more uncertainty in qualitative interviews. Based on survey scales, respondents held


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