CSPI Newsroom
Return to the Center for Science in the Public Interest


  National Opinion Poll on Labeling of Genetically Modified Foods(1)
Conducted by Bruskin Research, March 30 - April 1, 2001

1.If you could add one piece of information to food labels, such as on a box of Wheaties, which, if any, of the following would you add?
 
  Contains imported wheat 8%
  Contains genetically engineered wheat 17%
  Contains pesticides in minute amounts 31%
  Contains lubricants from food processing machinery in minute amounts7%
  Or, would you add something else (specify:) 6%
  No new information 16%
  Don’t know 15%
 
2.Now, please tell me if you agree, disagree or if you don’t know whether certain specific information should be required on food labels. Let’s start with...
 
 
agreedisagreedon’t know
Whether the workers who made it were, or were not, members of labor unions.... 18%68%14%
Whether some of the ingredients were imported....56%33%11%
Whether the crop was grown using practices that cause farm soil erosion....43%44%13%
Whether any of the ingredients came or did not come from genetically engineered crops....62%26%12%

 
3.Modern agriculture uses many technologies to increase productivity. Do you think the words (item below) should appear on the label of a food product where one or more ingredients were from crops which were...
 
  Sprayed with pesticides 76%
  Genetically engineered 70%
  Treated with plant hormones 65%
  Made from cross-bred corn 40%
  Don’t know/no response 12%
 
4.Would you buy fruits or vegetables that were labeled as being from crops which were...
 
  Sprayed with pesticides 40%
  Genetically engineered 43%
  Treated with plant hormones 37%
  Made from cross-bred corn 44%
  None of the above 26%
  Don’t know 8%
 
5.Would you buy processed foods, such as a frozen dinner, that contained a minor ingredient, such as corn starch, where the label stated that the crop was...
 
  Sprayed with pesticides 31%
  Genetically engineered 40%
  Treated with plant hormones 34%
  Made from cross-bred corn 40%
  None of the above 35%
  Don’t know 9%
 
6.How familiar are you with genetically engineered foods? Would you say you are...
 
  Extremely familiar 5%
  Somewhat familiar 38%
  Not very familiar 30%
  Not at all familiar 25%
  Don’t know/no response 1%
 
7.If you had a choice between two boxes of Wheaties, where the label on one box indicated that it contains genetically engineered ingredients and the label on the other box indicated that it does not contain genetically engineered ingredients, which would you choose, or would you not care?
 
  Labeled “Contains genetically engineered ingredients” 8%
  Labeled “Does not contain genetically engineered ingredients” 52%
  Would not care 38%
  Don’t know 3%
 
8.If corn flakes were labeled “does not contain genetically engineered corn”, would you think that the corn flakes were (better than, the same as or worse than)/(worse than, the same as or better than) corn flakes without such labels?
 
  Better 35%
  Same 42%
  Worse 8%
  Don’t know/no response 15%
 
9.If corn flakes were labeled “made from genetically engineered corn”, would you think that the corn flakes were (better than, the same as or worse than)/(worse than, the same as or better than) corn flakes without such labels?
 
  Better 12%
  Same 42%
  Worse 30%
  Don’t know/no response 17%
 
10.  If the following statements appeared on a loaf of bread, would that indicate to you that the food is (safer, just as safe, or not as safe as/not as safe, just as safe, or safer than) bread without such a statement, or would you say that you don’t know? Let’s start with...
 
 
safejust as safenot as safedon’t
know
Contains genetically engineered wheat...7%34%31%28%
Contains wheat developed with biotechnology...6%33%30%31%
Contains genes from wheat....6%44%15%35%
Contains genetically engineered wheat — reduces pesticide use...21%29%28%22%

 
11.Which of the following foods should be identified on a label as “genetically engineered” if labeling were required?
 
  If the whole food itself, such as a tomato, is genetically engineered 61%
  If a major ingredient of the food, such as the wheat in Wheaties cereal, is genetically engineered 53%
  If a minor ingredient of the food, such as corn starch in a frozen dinner, is genetically engineered 42%
 If the food, such as soy oil, is made from a genetically
 engineered crop, but does not in any way contain
  any of the genetically engineered material from the soybeans 38%
  None of the above 13%
  Don’t know 13%
 
12.Labeling about genetically engineered ingredients could increase the cost of food. Would you be willing to pay for such labeling if labeling increased the cost of your family’s food by...
 
  Over $250 a year 7%
  $250 per year 5%
  $50 per year 16%
  $10 per year 17%
  Nothing 44%
  Don’t know 11%

1. To counter any "order effect," in most questions, the order of possible responses was rotated. In several cases, the wording of the question itself was alternated or the order of questions was shifted.