Consumers have become increasingly wary of GMOs, short for genetically modified organisms, with some worrying that eating them could lead to health problems like food allergies or resistance to antibiotics.
All of this flies in the face of a general consensus from the scientific community, almost all of whom agree that GMOs are safe.
So what gives?
A new Pew Research Center survey gets a bit closer to an answer.
As it turns out, two-thirds of the Americans they interviewed think scientists themselves don’t fully understand all of the ways GMOs could effect health. And those people who think scientists don’t understand GMOs are also the ones who are concerned for their safety when eating genetically modified food.
For their part, however, the scientists don’t seem to agree:
So far, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the European Commission all have said that GMO foods are safe to eat. A large scientific study from 2013 found no “significant hazards directly connected with the use of genetically engineered crops.”
The survey, published Wednesday in a report, asked more than 2,000 people the question, “From what you’ve heard or read, would you say scientists have a clear understanding of the health effects of genetically modified crops or are scientists not clear about this?”
Overwhelmingly, the response was negative.
For the most part, politics, level of education, gender, age, race or ethnicity didn’t make any difference in how people responded. Even two-thirds of those with a background in science — defined by having a four-year college degree in a science field — said they didn’t think scientists had a good grasp of all the facts on GMOs when it came to their health effects.
Here’s the general breakdown:
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