Biotech Updates

German Study Analyzes Risk Perceptions of Consumers Regarding GM Crops

February 14, 2018

Consumers are more concerned about potential environmental risks of GM crops than health worries, according to a study conducted in Germany. The results are published in the International Journal of Consumer Studies.

The research team, composed of scientists from the University of Bonn and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, aimed to investigate the risk perceptions of 439 German consumers regarding genetic engineering. The subjects were divided into four experimental treatment groups comprised of two policy scenarios, one only permitting research and development and the other allowing full commercialization of GM products, and two product end-uses, bioenergy and food.

Results showed that health risks were generally perceived to be lower for GM crops used for bioenergy than for food. Full commercialization of GM food prompted higher concerns about personal health, while use of crops for bioenergy was linked to higher levels of socioeconomic risk. Even if most of the consumers said that health risk is the most relevant for them, the consequences for the environment evoked the most degree of perception.

Read more about the study in the International Journal of Consumer Studies.