Perceptions and Attitudes of Singaporeans toward Genetically Modified Food

By Subrahmanyan, Saroja; Cheng, Peng Sim | The Journal of Consumer Affairs, Winter 2000 | Go to article overview

Perceptions and Attitudes of Singaporeans toward Genetically Modified Food


Subrahmanyan, Saroja, Cheng, Peng Sim, The Journal of Consumer Affairs


This study examines the perceptions and attitudes of Singaporean residents who attended the first public lecture on genetically modified (GM) food in the country. Scales were developed for the underlying consumer concerns, and their relationship with one another and with demographic variables were examined. Slightly more than half of those who attended the talk (n = 417) indicated that they were worried about GM foods and 86 percent agreed or strongly agreed that GM foods should be labeled. Issues relating to health, ethics, and perceived benefits were the major underlying concerns. These were related to several demographic variables and also to perceived knowledge about biotechnology. Women were more concerned about the ethical and health aspects compared to men. Those with post-graduate education were the least concerned about health and ethical issues and more likely to buy GM foods if consumer benefits are shown. Married respondents were less concerned about health issues compared to single ones. Also, th ose with children under fifteen years of age were less concerned about health issues compared to others and more likely to buy GM foods if consumer benefits are shown. Respondents sub-scribing to the Hindu religion were more likely than others to buy GM foods if benefits are shown. Also, those who considered themselves vegetarians were more concerned about the ethical aspects of GM foods compared to others.

How concerned are people about genetically modified (GM) food? Agricultural biotechnology has been the subject of extensive public debates in many countries (Juma 1999). In the U.S., this concern has accelerated since last year with U.S. agricultural products facing an embargo from the European Union (De Bony 1999). Public debate on GM foods centers on issues of safety and labeling as well as on the ethics of gene alteration. At present the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require labeling for GM foods as it has concluded that there is no inherent risk in the use of biotechnology. Labeling is only required if the chemical composition or nutritional value of the food has been changed or if it contains known allergenic foods like peanuts (Food and Drug Administration 1992; Lemaux 1998). This practice is in contrast to the European Union, which requires that labels specify the presence of genetically modified organisms (Phillips and Isaac 1998). This restriction has caused U.S. corn exporters al one to lose roughly $200 million worth of business in 1999 (Consumer Reports 1999; The Independent 2000). Thus, the attitude and perception of people from various parts of the world toward GM foods is important not only to policy makers, but also to businesses that engage in selling such products.

A number of surveys have been conducted in the U.S., Canada, and Europe to find out the public's awareness, knowledge, perception, and attitudes toward GM foods. (For recent studies published in academic journals, see Sparks, Shephard, and Frewer 1994; Hoban 1997, 1998; Bredahl, Grunert, and Frewer 1998; and Hoban and Katic 1998.) In general, these studies indicate that compared with their European counterparts, U.S. consumers are more accepting of biotechnological products. However, these studies, as well as large public opinion surveys (e.g., Consumer Reports 1999 and Gallup Polls 1999), also found that the majority of Americans are poorly informed about the use of biotechnology in food production, and one-third are even unaware that GM foods are already on the supermarket shelves. Scholderer et al. (1999) conducted in-depth interviews of experts and consumers in several European countries and concluded that they have different perspectives. In their study, experts viewed GM foods as having nutritional, pr ice, and environmental advantages. Many consumers disputed these benefits. Consumers in Europe are still not convinced about the safety and benefits of GM foods.

Collectively, all previous studies that examined consumer attitudes toward GM foods found that the major consumer concerns were related to issues regarding health, labeling, ecology, and ethics. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Perceptions and Attitudes of Singaporeans toward Genetically Modified Food
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.