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Conference and World Food Day 2017

Perceptions and consumers attitudes in the Republic of Croatia related to GM food problematics

Andrea Gross-Bošković1, Donatela Verbanac2, Jasenka Ćosić3, Sara Mikrut Vunjak1, Sanja Miloš1, Vladimir Mrša4, Ivan Krešimir Svetec4, Hrvoje Fulgosi5

1Croatian Food Agency, Osijek, Croatia
2University of Zagreb School of Medicine, Zagreb, Croatia
3Agriculture Faculty in Osijek, Osijek, Croatia
4Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology, Zagreb, Croatia
5Ruđer Bošković Institute, Zagreb, Croatia

Recombinant DNA techniques (genetic engineering) meet with the wide-range applications in field of natural sciences such as biology, biotechnology, human and veterinary medicine, agronomy, food industry, pharmaceuticals, etc. That’s how a genetics, as a subject of relatively small scientific community has become a topic for discussion of various groups and strongly divided world’s public to those who support it and those who are fiercest opponents of GMOs. Negative attitudes to these science achievements and technology can be explained by the lack of information of society and generally by the mistrust in science. Therefore, wider public needs to be constantly informed about scientific achievements.

Taking into account that perceptual and actual risks originated from food significantly differ, it is necessary to identify perception of GM food risks in the Republic of Croatia in a professional and qualitative manner. In order to develop a national strategy related to GM food on soundly base, the Scientific Panel of Genetically Modified Food and Feed by Croatian Food Agency (HAH) has proposed implementation of research, which HAH, in cooperation with an independent agency for market research conducted in September and October 2016. For implementation, a CATI method was used as telephone interview on a national representative sample of Croatian citizens (N = 800), both sexes, aged 15 to 65, in 6 regions and 4 resident settlements.

All respondents heard about concept of genetically modified food. More than half of respondents shows interest in topic of GM food, and fifth of their lack of interest. Three-fourths of respondents (74%) quotes negatively about GM food, while 6% of respondents have a positive opinion. Assessment of potential dangers of GM food for humans and environment are high and potential benefits are low. Respondents agree with statement that GM foods should be labelled. They also believe that competent authorities should consult public on GM food control measures, but also that they need additional information to develop even stronger attitude. They mostly trust family members and friends towards communication about GM facts.

Keywords: GM food, perception, consumers