April 28, 2022 – A new Pollara Strategic Insights study, conducted on behalf of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN), reveals that most Canadians support mandatory labelling on genetically modified foods and food products with genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and that the public opposes by a margin of nearly 2 to 1 a proposal to let food companies conduct their own safety assessments of genetically modified foods produced through gene editing.
The study found that almost half (47%) of Canadians felt knowledgeable about GMOs prior to participating in the survey. However, only 6% felt very knowledgeable, whereas four-in-ten (41%) felt somewhat knowledgeable.
Similarly, just over half (54%) of Canadians expressed concern about the safety of genetically modified foods and food products that contain GMOs, although this concern is more likely to be moderate (37%) than intense (17%).
After being presented with arguments for and against the labelling of genetically modified foods (i.e. “let consumers make informed decisions” vs. “labels might make unknowledgeable consumers assume the foods are unsafe”), more than two-thirds of Canadians (68%) expressed support for the federal government making it mandatory for food companies to label if their foods are genetically modified or contain GMOs. Just 7% were opposed, as 18% were ambivalent and 6% were unsure.
After informing respondents of the Health Canada proposal to allow food companies to assess the safety of some genetically foods produced through gene editing – a process whereby plant genes are deleted or changed, but no foreign DNA is introduced – almost half (46%) of Canadians expressed opposition, preferring that Health Canada conduct these safety assessments. Comparatively, a quarter (24%) supported the Health Canada proposal. Two-in-ten were ambivalent (19%) and 11% were unsure.
These are the findings of a public opinion research study conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights on behalf of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) from April 21-24, 2022. Pollara Strategic Insights conducted an online survey amongst a randomly-selected, reliable sample of N=1,517 adult Canadians. Online surveys do not permit the assignment of a margin of error. A probability sample of this size and design would carry a margin of error of +/- 2.5, 19 times out of 20. The dataset has been weighted using standard statistical techniques to ensure that the sample accurately reflects the gender, age, and provincial distribution of the adult Canadian population according to the most recent Census.
For more information, please see the CBAN media release and the data tables.