Canadians want altered food labelled: poll

A major leap for science, or “Frankenfood”? The controversy over genetically- engineered foods is definitely heating up. A national poll commissioned by the Council of Canadians has found that  three-quarters (75%) of Canadians familiar with genetically engineered (GE) foods are worried about their safety. An overwhelming majority  (95%) want GE foods labeled as such and want the choice to buy non-GE foods. More than two thirds of those polled would be willing to pay more for non-GE foods.

Government didn’t get a vote of confidence in the poll. More than half of respondents (56%) are “not confident” in the federal government’s ability to protect their health and safety when it comes to GE foods.

“The results of this poll demonstrate that a genuine consumer revolt is brewing against GE foods,” says Jennifer Story, Health Protection Campaigner with The Council of Canadians.

The Council has been spearheading a national consumer campaign to have GE foods removed from store shelves until they are proven safe to eat. Increasing numbers of consumers, scientists and agricultural professionals are calling on the federal government to undertake long-term, independentesting of GE foods to ensure their safety – a step both the government and the GE food industry have resisted.

The Environics poll certainly  does suggest that a majority of informed customers do want grocery stores to offer GE-free foods.  The telephone poll, which surveyed 902 Canadians earlier this year, is accurate within 3.3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.