Consumer attitudes to GM labeling

15 January 2013

The Food Standards Agency has published the findings of research looking at consumer attitudes to the labelling of genetically modified (GM) food and the use of 'GM-free' labelling.
The key findings of the research are:

  • Consumer awareness of the current labelling requirements is low.
  • Participants were typically not seeking information or labelling with regard to GM foods. Only 2% of participants spontaneously mentioned they looked for information about GM content when buying food products for the first time.
  • There was a slight preference for labelling indicating the presence of GM, rather than labelling indicating the absence of GM.
  • Labelling foods to indicate the absence of GM ingredients can result in a number of expectations. For example, participants expected a product labelled as ‘GM-free’ to be completely free of the use of GM.
  • Participants were generally unaware of the use of GM animal feed by farmers. Once made aware of its use, they typically considered that products from animals fed GM feed should be labelled, consistent with previous FSA research.
The Agency commissioned this research to inform discussions within Europe about GM labelling and to ensure the UK public’s views were understood and represented (FSA News Update, 9 January 2013).