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Abstract

Perceptions of genetically modified (GM) and organic food among North Dakota college students were elicited and compared. Participants responded to one of two survey instruments containing identical wording except for reference to genetic modification or organic, after reading a primer defining the term used in their instrument. Participants' indicated their level of agreement with statements in the construct areas of health, environment, ethics, regulation, and risk. Responses were compared among survey instruments and to responses to previous surveys of Americans and of shoppers in North Dakota. Organic food was perceived as a healthier and safer choice. Organic practices were perceived to be more environmentally sound. Respondents expressed a level of concern over the unknown effects GM food could have on the environment and society as a whole. However, participants generally felt that genetic modification could be used effectively and valued some of the associated benefits. Reliability assessment revealed that statements within each construct area are reliable and can be used in future surveys.

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