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Opinion

Over the past several years, people in European countries have debated the issue of biotechnology in agriculture with varied levels of interest and concern. Many studies have been conducted to measure the opinion of Europeans. The results show a variety of views but confirm that perceptions can change rapidly over short periods as people become more familiar with the benefits that the technology brings.

In the period 1995-2000 the contrast between the US and Europe was striking. In the US, the regulatory arrangements were in place, the public untroubled, and the commercial exploitation of biotechnology was well underway with product approvals and millions of acres planted with new GM seeds. By contrast, despite many of the innovations being European in origin, the cycle of understanding in Europe was at a much earlier stage. Europe's collective and national regulatory arrangements found biotechnology a difficult concept unlike in the US, the technology and its benefits were unfamiliar to the public.

But things are changing. Research shows that people’s basic attitudes and concerns are remarkably similar in Europe as in US. Independent research shows frequently that most people feel poorly informed to come to an opinion on GM. Most of us are not anti-science or anti-technology; we simply want more and better information on which to base our decisions. This coupled with the fact that many people in Europe have little knowledge of, or contact with, the agricultural sector, makes good communication vital.

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If you want to know more about this issue, please read:
Views on Agricultural Biotechnology

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