What Americans Really Think About Food Additives & GMOs: Report

Do Americans believe that food additives are really harmful to health and well-being?  Interesting results have been reported by the Pew Research Center (the organization that conducted one of the most revealing reports on food additives three years ago): Only about one-half Americans believe that food additives that have been linked in scientific studies with health concerns are actually a threat to health.

Not surprisingly, Americans’ beliefs about food additives were aligned with what they actually eat:

“People who estimate that a larger share of their diet is organic— foods which, by design, are intended to eliminate artificial preservatives, flavors and colors as well as pesticides and genetically modified ingredients—are more inclined to see serious health risks for the average person from additives in foods and to consider GM foods worse for one’s health than foods with no GM ingredients.”


american beliefs about food additives-pew poll

What Do Americans Think about Food Additives and GMOs?

About half think they’re unhealthy; the other half aren’t especially concerned

Scientific American

A new Pew Research Center report shows an American public that is closely divided over two broad types of food technologies: additives, and genetically modified (GM) crops or other GM ingredients…

Poll results

About half of the public (51 percent) believes the average person faces a serious health risk over the long term from eating foods with additives, while 48 percent say potentially threatening additives exist in such small amounts that there is no serious health risk.

More specifically, the center asked people to evaluate the potential risk of four types of additives associated with the production and processing of food: meat from animals given hormones or antibiotics, produce grown with pesticides and artificial preservatives or artificial coloring. The public was evenly divided with half (50 percent) saying at least one of the four poses a great deal of health risk to the average person and half saying none of these pose a great deal of health risk.

Similarly, there is a close division among the public about the health effects of GM, also known as genetically engineered, foods; about half (49 percent) consider such foods to be worse for one’s health than foods with no GM ingredients, while 44 percent say GM foods are neither better nor worse than non-GM foods, and 5 percent say they are better for one’s health…

Read the Pew Report here: Public Perspectives on Food Risks

Read more of the overview of the poll results here.