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Younger consumers more likely to try gene-edited foods

AMES, IOWA – Consumers under the age of 30 and consumers earning more than $ 125,000 a year are less likely to avoid genetically modified foods, meaning foods made using technology such as CRISPR, according to a study by researchers at North Carolina State University, Iowa State University. And the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Those who view science and technology positively, trust agricultural biotech companies, and have a good idea of ​​gene editing technology are also less likely to avoid gene-edited foods.

Consumers who are more likely to avoid genetically modified foods include older consumers, more religious consumers, women and consumers who are more politically conservative. Consumers who have food beliefs, including ethical issues and wondering where food comes from, were more likely to say that they avoid genetically modified foods, as consumers rely heavily on environmental organizations to monitor genetically modified food technologies.

The survey involved 2,000 U.S. adults taken from YouGov’s national omnibus panel and appeared online June 1. The frontier of food science and technology. The study was funded by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture from the US Department of Agriculture.

About 60% of women say they are reluctant to eat gene-edited foods. About 40% of consumers over the age of 60 said they would avoid eating and buying gene-edited foods, compared to 22% in millennials and Gen Z. Of the customers who earn $ 40,000 to $ 45,000 annually, 25% say they are willing to eat gin. Edited food, which is 42% for those earning between $ 125,000 and $ 149,000, and about 70% for those earning more than $ 250,000.

“This study highlights the need for better consumer-centric communication and provides a scientific basis for current U.S. public opinion regarding people’s desire to eat GE food and purposeful avoidance,” the study authors concluded. “Going forward, we hope that the U.S. public’s desire to eat and purposeful avoidance of genetically modified foods will change as they become more easily engaged in developmental processes and products in this area.”

The future of gene-edited foods (GEFs) will depend on the history of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), according to research. Many non-governmental organizations and consumer advocacy groups consider GEF to be an extension of GMOs, according to the survey.

Gene-edited foods are different from GMOS. Gene-edited foods involve seismic engineering where scientists use tools such as CRISPR, Cas, ZFN or TALEN to modify a specific part of a plant or animal’s DNA or replace it with the genetic material of a sexually compatible species. Genetic mutations are passed on to their offspring in the same way as traditional breeding.

GMOs involve transgenic engineering where scientists insert genes from other species or genes that were artificially created in the genome of a plant or animal. GMOs are regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration, the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the USDA.

“Current regulations state that genetically modified foods are similar to traditional selective breeding and therefore do not fall under the same review process as GMOs, but some consumer groups, trade organizations and environmental groups disagree,” said Christopher Cummings, Ph.D., senior research researcher. University.

Dr. Cummings co-authored the study with David Peters, PhD, professor of sociology, and a rural sociologist with ISU Extension and Outreach.

According to research, gene-edited foods may be produced faster and more expensive than traditional selective breeding or transgenic mutations.

“Right now, there are a lot of people in the middle,” Dr. Cummings said. “They haven’t fully made up their minds about gene-edited foods, but as they learn more about technology and products, they’ll probably move to one side of the problem. I think it will depend on their consumer experience, what kind of messaging they believe and who It sends, as well as what product they encounter. ”


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