GENET archive


9-Misc: Consumers in Egypt and the United Arab Emirates strongly opposed to GM food

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Consumer Unease Over Genetically Modified Food
SOURCE: Bernama, Malaysia
DATE:   28 Sep 2005

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Consumer Unease Over Genetically Modified Food

PETALING JAYA, Sept 28 (Bernama) -- The agriculture industry should take
advantage of the present situation concerning consumer unease over
genetically modified (GM) food production, especially in West Asia and
North Africa.

A survey undertaken during 2003 and 2004 showed that the public in the
two regions were strongly opposed to GM food.

The survey was carried out in Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on
1,000 participants, representing the North African and West Asian regions.

The survey questionnaire involved questions on awareness and knowledge of
GM food, willingness to consume and willingness to pay to avoid GM food.

Palm oil is GM-free, but most of other oil crops such as soy bean, corn
and cotton are GM edible oils.

The survey results were compiled in the proceedings at the International
Palm Oil Congress 2005 for agriculture, biotechnology and sustainability,
which was one of the five sub-conferences being held here today.

The survey methods, conclusions and recommendations were submitted by two
researchers from the Faculty of Agriculture, Cairo University, Giza,
Egypt. They were Ahmed A. Eiobeidy from the Department of Fruit
Horticulture and Sherein A. Abou Dawood from the Department of Dairy
Science and Technology.

According to the survey, most of the consumers believed that they were
consuming GM food.

It said that since most countries in the Middle East and North Africa
depend largely on imported foods, it is difficult to avoid importing GM
food products.

"Hence, establishing regulations for GM food could ease food scares in
the area," the survey said in its recommendations.

"Furthermore, the role food inspector agencies should be improved. In
addition, verifiable information on GM food should be disseminated in
ordered to mitigate impact of unduly negative anti-biotech information
being distributed by consumer and other non-governmental organisations in
Europe," it said.

The survey also said that transparent communication by policy-makers and
other stakeholders was essential to address consumers' concerns over GM
food safety.

"Mandatory labelling system should be taken into considerations. Labels
should depend on the certainty of the ingredient identity. The actual
ability of the supply chain to provide high levels of integrity in the
segregation process will increase the trust in labelling system," it added.


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