Genome Editing - Food

Goals

The goal is to determine what consumer sentiment (if any) there is related to gene-edited foods.

Early Findings

  • In general, it appears that there is a misunderstanding thinking that GMO and Gene-edited foods are the same. Several debates on Phys.org and Reddit broke down into this.
  • Positive

    • One reader simply stated: "I'm always expecting new things. So Welcome the gene-edited food."
    • Commenting on the ScienceMag article, one Reddit user stated: "I don't understand how it's unnatural when all you're doing is changing what's already there; the DNA, which is already natural. That's like saying it's not a tire anymore because you changed the tire the car originally came with to something the store sold you. It's still a tire..."
    • The debate is alive and well. In just two days, an article extolling gene-edited foods gained 1,630 reader comments.
    • As has been discovered from research, the another editorial citing the above article says: "The remarks were typically emotional, angry or sarcastic and frequently displayed ignorance about genetic modification processes and products."

    Negative/Skeptical

    • Dana Perls, Senior Food and Agriculture Campaigner at Friends of the Earth U.S said, in part: "All products made with genetic engineering, including ones made with gene-editing tools like CRISPR, should be regulated, assessed for health and environmental impacts and be clearly labeled."
    • A user on Science X expressed uncertainty by saying: "I'm in favor of genetically modified foods once we have fully sequenced all the DNA we're using and understand how it works. Until then we're throwing the dice."
    • Another user expressed their distrust more strongly: "With GMO and gene editing it can be too late for any kind of 'undo' operation. When that stuff is in worldwide use and you figure out that it causes uncurable cancer after 30 years of exposure humanity is screwed."
    • Similar sentiments were shared by another reader: "Messing with the food supply is dangerous and there is nothing in place to insure that severe damage is not done to the supply."
    • Much of the comments on Reddit were found in the Conspiracy thread, and therefore have been passed over for the time being.
    • In response to the article that CRISPR is coming to our plates, the sole comment stated: "Not to my plate. Ever. Nor any of my family’s…and if I can help it, none of my friends’ either."

    Proposed next steps:

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