HALIFAX – A new study finds the vast majority of Canadians believe genetically modified foods should have to be labelled at the grocery store.
A researcher says the findings show most consumers are confused about the science behind their dinner plates.
A survey conducted by researchers at Dalhousie University in Halifax found that nearly 90 per cent of Canadians expressed some degree of support for mandatory labelling of genetically modified ingredients, but most respondents were unsure whether they had purchased an engineered food product.
Sylvain Charlebois, a professor in food distribution and policy, says participants were split about whether the health effects of G-M foods are fully understood and that reflects a lack of understanding among consumers.
Before filling out the online questionnaire, the 1,046 people sampled were informed that genetically modified foods refer to organisms that have been genetically altered in a way that would not occur naturally.
Charlebois says the technology has been around for more than two decades, and it’s estimated more than three-quarters of all food products sold in Canada contain at least one G-M ingredient.
He says most research into the safety of G-M products, which has been largely funded by food producers and affirmed by independent analyses, has concluded the technology has not been linked to health risks.
In an effort to refute these findings, Charlebois says anti-GM groups have mobilized to take control of the public narrative and “demonize” the technology.
He says it’s consumers who’ve been left not knowing who to believe.
Health Canada doesn’t require labelling on G-M food, saying grocery items are assessed according to safety and nutritional standards before they go to market.


(supplied by the Canadian Press)

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