After more than 25 years of research and development on the genetic modification of a wide range of crops for food and fodder, China has reached a decision point as to whether it should accept, reject, or go slow with the use of genetically modified (GM) technology to produce the food and feed needed to sustain its population growth and economic renaissance. Here, we report a consumer survey on GM food that includes input from all provinces in China. Chinese consumers were surveyed for their awareness, knowledge, and opinion on GM food. The survey resulted in 11.9, 41.4, and 46.7% of respondents having a positive, neutral, or negative view on GM food, respectively. A minority of respondents (11.7%) claimed they understood the basic principles of GM technology, while most were either “neutral” or “unfamiliar with GM technology”. Most respondents (69.3%) obtained their information on GM food through the Internet and 64.3% of respondents thought that media coverage was predominately negative on GM food. The reasons given by consumers in favor of, or against, the use of GM food, were complex, as seen by the response of 13.8% of respondents who felt GM technology was a form of bioterrorism targeted at China. China’s Ministry of Agriculture and the science community generally expressed a positive attitude toward GM food, but the percentage of respondents that trusted the government and scientists was only 11.7 and 23.2%, respectively. Post-survey comments of respondents made suggestions on how the industrialization of GM technology might impact the future of China’s food supply and value chains. Finally, the impact of emerging technologies like genome editing and genome-edited organisms (GEOs) on the GM food debate is discussed.


  • Modified (GM) technology is a highly controversial topic for today’s global food consumer

  • The seventh question asked, “In general, will you support Genetically modified (GM) food?” The percentage of those who supported, opposed or were neutral were 11.9, 41.4, and 46.7%, respectively. These results suggest that the overall attitude of the Chinese consumer is cautious of GM food

  • Support for GM pharmaceuticals was higher than that found for GM food and again, there were many in the neutral category

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Modified (GM) technology is a highly controversial topic for today’s global food consumer. GM foods had helped sustain the nutritional needs of human beings and farm animals and mounting evidence showed that GM foods were substantially equivalent to traditionally bred food sources, it has sparked fierce debate about its safety This has generated worldwide interest in finding a common and harmonious narrative to deal with new opportunities and challenges of biotechnology. While China’s president calls for its scientists to “boldly research and innovate [and] dominate the high points of GMO techniques”,6 the people of China are largely opposed to GMO foods, but are not sure why.[7] this nationwide survey on the current Chinese public perception of GM food should be helpful to policy-makers, technology developers, as well as to consumers. A statistically relevant sample size of 2063 questionnaires were satisfactorily completed The findings in this survey provide insight into Chinese consumers and offer a possible path for “smart” industrialization of GM technologies in China

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