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U.S. Polls on GE Food Labeling

Center for Food Safety

The Mellman Group, Inc., 11/23/15
This poll of likely 2016 voters found that 89% said they favor mandatory labels on “foods which have been genetically engineered or containing genetically engineered ingredients be labeled to indicate that.”  A mere 6% oppose such a requirement and another 6% don’t know. A 77% supermajority not only favored mandatory labeling but “strongly” favored the proposal. These views are widespread across demographic lines, with nearly all Democrats (92% favor, 2% oppose), independents (89% favor, 7% oppose) and Republicans (84% favor, 7% oppose) supporting a required label. 

By similarly overwhelming margins, voters prefer that GMO labels on food products be printed on the package, with 88% saying they prefer printed labels (79% strongly favor), while just 8% prefer scannable bar codes.

Consumer Reports, 6/9/2014
92% of U.S. consumers believe that before GMO foods should be labeled accordingly.

The New York Times, 07/27/13
A recent New York Times poll found that 93% of Americans favor labeling of GE food:

MSNBC, 2/25/11
Do you believe genetically modified foods should be labeled?
Yes – 96% of over 45,000 voters believe genetically modified foods should be labeled

Reuters / NPR, 10/10
Poll conducted by Thompson Reuters and National Public Radio finds 93% of
Americans believe all GE foods should be labeled as such; only 35% willing to
eat GE fish

Washington Post, 9/17/10
Should genetically-modified food be labeled?
Yes – 95%

KSTP – St. Paul/Minneapolis, 9/21/10
Should Genetically Modified Salmon Carry a Different Label?
Yes, Should be labeled as genetically modified fish – 95%

Consumer Reports, 11/11/08
2008 Food Labeling Poll found that 95 percent of respondents said they thought
food from genetically engineered animals should be labeled, and 78 percent
strongly agreed with this.


Older Polls

*An ABC News poll found that 93% of the American public wants the federal government to require mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods. (ABC News, June 19, 2001.)

* 90% of Americans said foods created through genetic engineering processes should have special labels on them (Rutgers University’ Food Policy Institute study, November 2001).

* 90% of American farmers support labels on biotech products if they are scientifically different from conventional foods and 61% support labels on biotech products even if not scientifically different. (Farm Foundation/Kansas State University, survey of farms throughout the U.S., September 2001).

* 75% of Americans say it is important to them to know whether a food product contains genetically modified ingredients. (Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology poll, March 2001).

* 86% of Americans think that the government should require the labeling of all packaged and other food products stating that they include corn, soy or other products which have come from genetically modified crops (Harris Poll, June 2000).

* 79% of Americans said it should not be legal to sell genetically modified fruits and vegetables without special labels (USA Today, February 2000).

* 86% of Americans want labels on genetically engineered foods (International Communications Research, March 2000)

* 81% of Americans think the government should require genetically engineered food products to be labeled. 89% of Americans think the government should require pre-market safety testing of genetically engineered foods before they are marketed, as with any food additive. (MSNBC Live Vote Results, January 2000).

* 92% of Americans support legal requirements that all genetically engineered foods be labeled. (BSMG Worldwide for the Grocery Manufacturers of America, September 1999).

* Almost 70% of Americans think the U.S. government should require more extensive labeling of ingredients in genetically engineered food. (Edelman Public Relations Worldwide in Bloomberg News, September 1999).

* 81% of American consumers believe GE food should be labeled. 58% say that if GE foods were labeled they would avoid purchasing them. (Time magazine, January 1999).

* 93% of women surveyed say they want all GE food clearly labeled. (National Federation of Women’s Institutes, 1998).

* 93% of Americans who responded to a Novartis survey agree that GE foods should be labeled as such. 73% of those agree strongly with the position. (Novartis, February 1997). 25% say they would be likely to avoid labeled GE foods.

* 84% of 604 New Jersey residents polled want mandatory labeling of GE fruits and vegetables, 60% would consider buying fresh vegetables if they were labeled as having been produced by genetic engineering and 76% favor farmers voluntarily putting labels on their produce that say the items were not genetically engineered. (USDA, July 1995).

* 94% of 1,900 consumers polled believed that milk should be labeled to distinguish milk from rbGH-treated cows, 10% of milk drinkers say they buy their products from non-treated cows and more than 74% of consumers say they are concerned about the possible discovery of negative long-term effects on human health associated with rbGH. (USDA, March-June 1995).

* 92% of 36,000 polled say they want GE food labeled, with a 94% pro-labeling response from women and a 84% pro-labeling response from men. (Vance Publishing, in Food R&D, February 1995).

* 81% of 8,000 subscribers to PRODIGY Internet service think that milk containers should be labeled to indicate whether or not the milk comes from cows treated with rbGH. 92% of women; 78% of men (PRODIGY Internet company, March 1994).

* 88% of respondents favor mandatory labeling from rbGH-treated cows, 9% oppose mandatory labeling and 3% are unsure (St. Norbert College and Wisc. Pub. Radio, February 1994).

* 85% of those polled think that labeling of GE food is “very important” (USDA, 1992).

* In an FDA sponsored survey in 1992, 8 state attorneys general asked the FDA to require mandatory labeling of all GE foods

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