A new study conducted by researchers led by Sydney Scott, assistant
professor of marketing at the Olin Business School at the Washington
University in St. Louis confronts lay attitudes towards genetically
engineered (GE) foods. The study concludes that after more than 20 years of
growth in genetic engineering in agriculture, consumers have largely
remained skeptical, even to the point of being "grossed out" by the idea.
Scott said, "Consumers seem to be saying it's not OK to poke into the DNA.
That's yucky. People are grossed out by that." The authors wrote that people
view nature and naturalness as sacred and GE food is a violation of
naturalness. The research also shows that consumers follow "the magical law
of contagion" - the idea that the slightest contact between natural foods
and something else contaminates it. Thus, a housefly's wing in a bowl of
soup renders the entire serving inedible.
The researchers described four governmental approaches to GE crops
regulation, ranging from promotional to permissive to precautionary to
preventative. They cite, for example the
s/download/Facts%20and%20Trends%20-%20USA.pdf> USA as permissive, while the
European Union is restrictive. The research also aimed to expose gaps
between advocates of GE foods and their opponents. According to Scott, the
gap won't be solved by just taking into account scientific information. She
added that they are trying to figure out how to arrive at a better