EXTRACT: In Europe, the level of opposition to GMOs remains very high and is even growing in some countries.
--- How have opinions about GMOs changed over time? The situation in the European Union and the USA
S.Bonny, CAB Reviews: Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources, 2008, 3, No. 093, 17 pp. December 2008
This text examines changes in opinions on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) over the past ten years in the EU and the USA. Divergence in opinion on this topic makes it difficult to define common policies and has led to conflicts. The results of diverse surveys and polls taken repeatedly over several years, for example the Eurobarometer polls in the EU, have been used to carry out a meta-analysis of opinions on GMOs. First of all, the data used as well as questions of method and the numerous difficulties arising from such an approach are presented. In the second part, the points of view in the USA and the EU are compared for those years when identical questions were asked on both sides of the Atlantic, demonstrating the differences associated with location. Then, changes in opinions on GMOs over time are analysed, focusing in turn on the USA and then the EU countries.
To conclude, we examine whether there is a certain convergence or a widening gap over time between views in the USA and the EU. As regards biotechnology, there is a slight convergence of views over the last few years, Americans having become a little less optimistic and Europeans relatively more optimistic. However, in Europe, the level of opposition to GMOs remains very high and is even growing in some countries.