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WHO ARE PROPONENTS AND OPPONENTS OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS IN THE UNITED STATES?

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Abstract

A national telephone survey was conducted in the U.S. in April 2002 to assess the consumer acceptance of genetically modified (GM) foods. Attitudes towards GM foods were studied through the use of a multiple correspondence analysis (MCA) method, analyzing the interrelationships among many variables. This method was combined with a cluster analysis to construct a typology of consumers' attitudes. Four distinct behaviors were finally extracted - proponents, non-opponents, moderate opponents and extreme opponents. We estimated that only 35% of the surveyed population was opposed to GM foods. The consumer attitude towards GM foods was found more complex than the usual acceptance / rejection responses; consumers are looking for incentives and GM proponents are likely to choose the non-GM alternative if no benefit is perceived.

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