The key to consumer acceptance of modifications by biotechnology directed toward plant or animal application is perceived risk and benefit. These studies indicate that consumers expect human, animal, and environmental safety to be protected. The studies discussed indicate that consumer attitudes are more likely to be positive when people understand why animals or plants are modified, they view the potential benefit as important, and neither the animal nor the environment is harmed. Although consumers in the United States have positive attitudes, few are aware of all of the potential applications under development. European consumers are less aware, and many do not trust regulators or the food industry. Discussions with community leaders provide an opportunity to respond to consumer concerns and address both risks and benefits. Advertisements can increase public awareness of potential benefits. Messages that highlight potential benefits, address consumer concern, and are delivered by trusted, knowledgeable sources are critical to long-term acceptance.
1 Correspondence: Food Science and Technology (phone: 530-752-2774; fax: 530-752-3975; E-mail: [email protected]
Received for publication January 6, 2003. Accepted for publication July 15, 2003.