Two-thirds of consumers want products from animals fed on GM feed to be clearly labelled, a new study commissioned by the Food Standards Agency has found.
The study found GM labelling was generally a low-priority concern for consumer, with just 2% of spontaneously saying they look for GM information on food products and few aware products from GM-fed animals were on sale in the UK. But when asked specifically about it, two-thirds believed they had a right to know if products contained GM ingredients or came from animals fed on GM materials.
As for whether a GM labelling scheme should focus on telling consumers which products are “GM-free” or which ones contain GM materials, consumers were typically leaning towards the latter. However, 49% also said they would be less likely to buy a product for the first time if it was labelled as containing GM.
Research agency Define, which carried out the survey, said qualitative research suggested any GM labelling scheme would require consumers to be given additional information to ensure they fully understood why products were labelled as containing GM. “This might be especially so if GM labelling became more widespread, for example if foods were to be labelled to show the use of GM animal feed,” it added.
The EU is considering harmonising GM labelling across member states, and the FSA commissioned the research to inform upcoming discussions in Brussels.