Tuesday, September 29

Unfavourable attitudes toward genetically modified food predict negative feelings about other food technologies

Scientists at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) and the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH) have found that people who hold negative opinions of genetically-modified (GM) food are likely to feel the same about nano-enabled food—food with nano-additives to enhance flavour, nutrition or prolong shelf life.

In a survey of 1,000 respondents led by NTU comprising adult Singaporeans and permanent residents, close to a third found GM food unappealing, and their negative feelings influenced how they viewed nano-enabled food. Over a third felt neutral about GM food, while the remaining respondents welcomed it.

While the study focused specifically on reactions towards nano-enabled foods, lead investigator and NTU Associate Professor Shirley Ho said that the “spillover effect” they observed from GM food to nano-enabled food could possibly extend to other novel food technologies as well, given that mental associations that people make between similar technologies have shown to influence their behaviour towards a newer technology.

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