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Britons Accept Food Derived From GM

Britons Accept Food Derived From Genetic Modification

Research published in Britain in the last few days shows consumer support for GM foods has increased over the last 12 months, the Chairman of the NZ Life Sciences Network, Dr William Rolleston, said today.

“This study, undertaken by the highly reputable NOP, seriously calls into question assertions made by the Green Party, Greenpeace and the organics industry that UK consumers are rejecting GM products.

“Key findings include:
· Half the British public would eat GM food
· 10 per cent fewer people believe GM foods are unsafe than did a year ago
· Two out of three people don't feel they know enough about GM foods

“Contrary to claims there is no demand for GM food in the UK, and major campaigns against it, 48 per cent of people questioned said that they would eat food they knew was genetically modified. 44 per cent of people questioned said they would not. Comparisons with an identical poll in 2000 demonstrate an increase in consumer acceptance. Then, 46 per cent said they would and 50 per cent said they would not eat it.

“The research also shows a significant swing in the dynamics of the GM debate. While in 2000, 30 per cent of UK people questioned thought GM foods were not as safe as conventional foods, this year it was only 20 per cent.

“The message to New Zealand farmers and producers is: don’t be fooled by the opponents of GM into believing there is no market for GM products in the UK. They are patently wrong. Farmers should keep their options open and watch the trends. It is likely that other food scares will have a positive impact on acceptance of safe genetically modified foods,” concluded Dr Rolleston.

For further information, contact:

Dr William Rolleston Francis Wevers
Chairman Executive Director
Phone 03 612 6688 Phone 04 916 0100
Mobile 025 246 0634 Mobile 021 916010

Date: Wednesday, 4 April 2001

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