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Abstract

Research on plant molecular farming (PMF) is supported by public and private sectors in Canada. This may lead to benefits of new or cheaper medicines, industrial products and foods, but also be the source of appreciable risks to food safety from contamination by PMF materials, as well as potential environmental risks and costs. This study uses data from a 2005 nation-wide Canadian survey to gain insights into citizens’ perceptions of PMF benefits and risks. A series of nonparametric tests are conducted on ordinal survey data on risk and benefit assessments of respondents. PMF is not seen as a major threat to food safety or the environment, but as a moderate indirect risk. The use of PMF to produce better and cheaper medical drugs appears to have the best benefits-to-risks ratio, while using PMF to produce more nutritious and cheaper food has the least favorable ratio.

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