GE NEWS ARCHIVE
Mothers for Natural Law
What do People Want?
BritainCommissioned by GeneWatch, the MORI poll of June, 1998, finds that 75% of the British public feel there should be a ban on the growing of GE crops here until there has been further assessment of the implications; 73 % are concerned about genetic pollution; 61% (up 8% since December 1996) do not want to eat GE foods and 58% (up 7% since December 1996) do not welcome the use of GE in foods.
CanadaIn a poll conducted by the Toronto Star, the vast majority wanted genetically engineered foods to be labeled. The issue posed was,
In Canada, genetically engineered food must be labeled only when it changes the nutritional value or could pose a health risk to some people. Should all genetically engineered foods be labeled?Of those polled, 98% said yes, while 2% said no.
BritainA Monsanto Internet site that opened in June 1998 included critical news reports. One story told of Monsanto's apology to Europeans for heavy-handed attempts to promote genetically altered products, and another reported a new poll showing that 95% of Britons interviewed wanted modified foods labeled.
FranceA French opinion poll found that 76% of the French public do not want to eat genetically manipulated food.
JapanA 1998 survey undertaken in Japan on people's attitude to genetically altered food found that 91% of respondents desired safety information on such food products. The survey, performed by the Society for Techno-innovation of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, also showed that 72% want information on environmental impact, and 55% would like details of how the genetically engineered product differs from ordinary food.
Some half of respondents were aware of genetically altered food products, but 63% did not know that such foods were already on sale in Japan. About 80% mentioned new drugs and oil-decomposing bacteria as areas in which genetic engineering should be encouraged, while just over 50% cited food engineering as a priority.
At the end of 1997, Japanese consumers collected a million signatures, protesting against GE and demanding labeling of all GE products. In the beginning of 1998, they collected a second million. Most consumers in Japan are organized in co-ops, and some of the largest co-ops have taken a stand against GE foods. Shutoken, a major Tokyo-based consumer co-op has taken the initiative to start labeling foods that are free of GE ingredients.
AustriaIn spring 1997, the most successful referendum in Austrian history took place and was signed by 1.2 million people, which is about 22% of the Austrian population. The result: No genetically engineered food in Austria and a very critical public debate on genetic engineering.
EuropeConsumers across Europe are signaling that they do not wish to eat GM foods, because of potential risks to their health. A Gallup poll commissioned by Iceland Foods shows that the vast majority of consumers who have heard about them have reservations about GM foods. Only 4% of consumers in the poll indicated that they were "very likely" to buy genetically modified food.
USAA poll by biotech and pharmaceutical giant Novartis released in February 1997 found 54% of American consumers stating that they would prefer to see chemical-intensive agriculture move toward organic production. In the same poll 93% said that genetically engineered foods should be labeled, with 73% indicating that they felt "strongly" about this. A Time Magazine poll of January 1999 found that 81% of Americans wanted genetically engineered food labeled.
BritainThe Scotsman, In an ICM poll, 85 per cent of respondents said they wanted GM foods to be separated from normal crops at source. The poll also found that 95 per cent wanted foods derived from GM crops to be labeled.
USAA USDA-funded poll released in January of 1996 on rBGH (recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone, often known outside the U.S. as rBST), in which 94% of consumers said rBGH-derived dairy products should be labeled, while 74% felt the biotech drug was unsafe. (rBGH is banned in Canada and the Europena Union.)
AustraliaAn Australian National University, International Social Science Survey, conducted by Jonathon Kelley in 1993, found that 67% of Australians would try genetically engineered foods, however, 89% expected such foods to be labeled and would reject them if they were unlabeled.
Visit the Center for Food Safety polls page for a more complete list.
Our nation is supposed to be a role model for democracy and human rights. Our government has a constitutional duty to respect the peoples desire to know what they are eating. Instead, the US government is not only ignoring the opposition to genetic engineering in the US, it is even proposing to use international courts to force these experimental foods on nations whose people have voted to reject them.
In June, 1999, Mothers for Natural Law delivered 500,000 signatures for mandatory labeling of genetically engineered food to Congress. The Natural Law Party proposed bills for labeling and pre-market safety review for genetically engineered foods.
In September, 1999, U.S. Reps. David Bonior (D-Mich.) and Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) circulated a bi-partisan sign-on letter in both the House of Representatives calling on the Food and Drug Administration to enforce the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act by requiring mandatory labeling and safety testing of genetically engineered foods.
In November, 1999, Congressman Kucinich introduced bill H.R.3377 which would require a label that says United States government notice: This product contains genetically engineered material, or was produced with a genetically engineered material. In February, 2000, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California) introduced a similar bill S.2080 in the U.S. Senate. In March, 2000, Congressman Kucinich introduced bill H.R.3883 on safety testing of genetically engineered foods. (For more information on these bills, search for the bill by number on the Library of Congress website.)
It is time to take a stand for food safetysign the petition for safety testing and a moratorium on all genetically engineered foods.