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Abstract

Primary information about awareness and attitudes of North Dakota shoppers toward foods containing ingredients produced from genetically modified (GM) varieties was elicited. A telephone survey resulted in 407 completed questionnaires. Level of awareness of biotechnology was very low, few could define GM, and considerable misattribution was encountered among respondents about the availability of GM foods. Shoppers reported a preference for information about GM content on food labels and also favored disclosures that foods would be GM-free. Level of interest among shoppers for two GM products depended on the product attribute that was emphasized, with the highest propensity to purchase a GM product when it had a health trait not offered by the non-GM product. Shoppers were more accepting of plant-based GM products than those that are animal-based. Degree of shopper approval for GM applications varied. Several applications involving an altruistic element received the strongest support. GM modifications involving cost reductions for fruits/vegetables, or affecting taste or shelf life, averaged approval in the range of 50% of shoppers. GM applications to animals were viewed with substantially more disapproval than those involving plants. Overall, the results compare with those found on a national level, excepting the higher proportion of approval locally evidenced for plants.

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