Global Issues >> Biotechnology


Biotechnology in General

A plurality believes that to date the benefits of biotechnology have outweighed the harmful effects, and a modest majority believes that biotechnology will produce benefits in the future. However, this optimism about the future appears to be on the decline, and a solid majority worries about the potential harmful effects of biotechnology. The assessment of biotechnology is much less positive than for scientific research in general

Genetically Modified Food

A strong majority believes that genetically modifying food can produce benefits in the future, and thus a majority favors continued research on the development of such foods, and a strong majority rejects the argument that doing so is immoral. At the same time, though, Americans are divided on whether foods that people eat should be genetically modified now; whether genetically modified foods are safe; or whether they are a good thing. A majority says that it would avoid eating genetically modified food, but this resistance is not deep-seated, as a majority also says that it would probably buy such food if it was cheaper, tasted better or was less apt to require the use of pesticides.

Labeling GM Foods

An overwhelming majority thinks GM foods should be labeled as such. A strong majority would be willing to pay more to ensure labeling, and an overwhelming majority would like to have access to detailed information about such products. A strong majority also regards it as legitimate for Europe and Japan to require labeling of genetically modified products, even if this might discourage consumers from buying US products. Even though the FDA is highly trusted, a strong majority believes current regulations are not adequate to protect people.