Handbook on Agriculture, Biotechnology and Development
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Handbook on Agriculture, Biotechnology and Development

Edited by Stuart J. Smyth, Peter W.B. Phillips and David Castle

This book is a compendium of knowledge, experience and insight on agriculture, biotechnology and development. Beginning with an account of GM crop adoptions and attitudes towards them, the book assesses numerous crucial processes, concluding with detailed insights into GM products. Drawing on expert perspectives of leading authors from 57 different institutions in 16 countries, it provides a unique, global overview of agbiotech following 20 years of adoption. Many consider GM crops the most rapid agricultural innovation adopted in the history of agriculture. This book provides insights as to why the adoption has occurred globally at such a rapid rate.
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Chapter 18: Consumer attitudes and preferences for GM products

Stuart J. Smyth and David Castle


In Canada, it has been estimated that genetically modified (GM) foods and food ingredients are detectable in 11 per cent of foods consumed and might be present (but often not detectable) in up to 75 per cent of the processed foods sold in stores. Examples range from GM papaya and GM sweet corn that are directly consumed, to sucrose and fructose from GM corn that are used as ingredients in products like chewing gum. Although regulators around the world have ruled that there is no scientific evidence to support claims that these foods involve any new or magnified risks, many civil society groups and a large portion of consumers are simply not convinced. In absence of any definitive long-term studies showing these foods are safe, and in response to heightened apprehension about food safety issues, civil society groups and consumers seek mandatory labelling for GM foods. The reasons offered in defence of mandatory labels include: consumers' right to know what is in their food; giving consumers the ability, at point of sale, to choose or avoid GM foods; and enhancing long-term monitoring and surveillance of GM foods. Food concerns in industrial countries have evolved from food security concerns in the middle of the past century to provenance concerns at the present. Corresponding to this is the lengthening of supply chains, which in many markets has removed the direct relationship between the producer of food products and consumers.

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