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Adults -- Bioengineering, Biotechnology -- consumer perception, Consumers -- Demographics -- Federal legislation, Food -- food labels, Food organisms, Food packaging, Genetic modification, Genetically engineered organisms, Genetically modified organisms, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), Government agencies


Genetically modified (GM) foods have been commercially available in the US for more than two decades, yet Americans know very little about them. With the implementation of the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard of 2016, food manufacturers will be required to disclose the presence of GM ingredients in their food products. How food manufacturers communicate with consumers about GM ingredients may have consequences for public understanding of GM technology. In Study 1, we explore how food manufacturers characterize GM ingredients within their food products on SmartLabel, a digital disclosure website established by the Grocery Manufacturers Association. In Study 2, we test the effect of those characterizations on perceived risks and benefits of GM food. Overall, we find that varying characterizations of GM ingredients do not significantly affect perceived risks and benefits. Post hoc analyses suggest that knowledge of GM technology and moral evaluation of GM technology significantly predict perceived risks and benefits. Implications for the public communication of GM technology are discussed.


© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

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10.3390/ soc12050133

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