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Perception of gene technology, and food risks: results of a survey in Switzerland

Michael Siegrist

Journal of Risk Research, 2003, vol. 6, issue 1, 45-60

Abstract: Perceptions of and attitudes toward genetically engineered food and other food hazards were examined through data from telephone interviews conducted in Switzerland. A random quota sample was used ( N v = v 1001). General attitudes toward technology and political beliefs significantly influenced perceptions of gene technology. Women were more concerned about gene technology and food risks than men were. The term 'gene technology' evoked neutral or negative associations in most people; few people held positive images regarding this technology. Perception and acceptance of gene technology varied according to the type of application; people were less concerned about convenience or processed food. Although it is mandatory to label genetically modified food in Switzerland, relatively few people were familiar with this label. Participants assessed various food risks, and principal components analysis indicated that they distinguished between technological and natural food risks. Implications of these results are discussed.

Date: 2003
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