Negative opinions about genetically modified food may influence receptivity to other food technologies

People who have negative opinions about genetically-modified (GM) food are likely to feel the same about foods containing additives made with nanotechnology, according to a new study by researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

In a survey of 1,000 adults in Singapore, the researchers found that a third found GM food unappealing, and this was reflected in how they felt about foods using nano-additives to enhance flavor, nutrition, or shelf life. The study was published June 5, 2020 in the Journal of Communication.

According to the researchers, the finding is significant for Singapore, which imports 90% of its food supply. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt global supply chains, the country’s food supply may be impacted. Food technology that extends shelf life, or provides new options such as lab-cultured meat, could help mitigate shortages—but only if people are willing to eat products that use it.

“This study highlights the challenge in communicating safety of new food technologies as innovations advance to meet global food needs for a growing world population,” said K. “Vish” Viswanath, Lee Kum Kee Professor of Health Communication, a co-author of the study, in a June 9 article.

Read the article: Unfavourable attitudes toward genetically modified food predict negative feelings about other food technologies