Despite widespread scientific agreement that genetically modified foods are safe to consume, most Americans disagree and are unlikely to change their opinions unless they can first be convinced to open their minds. More than 90% of the 2,000-plus US and European adults surveyed by researchers at the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder, Washington University in St. Louis, the University of Toronto and the University of Pennsylvania reported some level of opposition to GMO foods. In addition, 93% reported some level of concern and 73% cited food safety or health concerns. Yet, when researchers tested respondents’ objective knowledge about genetically modified foods with a series of 15 true false questions, they found those who most opposed the use of genetic engineering in food also had the lowest actual knowledge about the technology. Those with the strongest anti-consensus views are the most in need of education, but also the least likely to be receptive to learning due to their overconfidence in their knowledge.
Lightbulb Moment: When a trend is born of fear or acquires a fear-based adversary, first investigate whether there is scientific reasoning behind it before you add fuel to a fire that doesn’t exist. Here we have ignorance fueling fears.