Consumer Fear Cancels European GM Research

Erica P. Johnson A new Eurobarometer, surveying attitudes about science among citizens of the ten countries that recently entered the European Union, suggests that genetically modified (GM) organisms are only slightly more tolerable to these "new Europeans" than to their peers on the rest of the continent. Seventy-nine percent of the 12,247 people surveyed in 13 countries by the Gallup Organization in Hungary say GM foods should be introduced only if proven safe, compared with 86% of the 16,02

Alexander Hellemans
May 4, 2003
Erica P. Johnson

A new Eurobarometer, surveying attitudes about science among citizens of the ten countries that recently entered the European Union, suggests that genetically modified (GM) organisms are only slightly more tolerable to these "new Europeans" than to their peers on the rest of the continent. Seventy-nine percent of the 12,247 people surveyed in 13 countries by the Gallup Organization in Hungary say GM foods should be introduced only if proven safe, compared with 86% of the 16,029 surveyed in 15 member states in December 2001.1, 2

Opposition to GM crops reached a peak during the mid-1990s in response to public pressure, and in 1998, the European Union introduced a de facto moratorium on the import and production of GM foods. In March, the European Commission decided to uphold the de facto moratorium, and it is also standing firm that any food containing more than 0.9% of a...