Fifty-six per cent of B.C. residents favour banning genetically modified foods, according to a new Insights West poll.
The online survey found two-thirds of B.C. residents had a negative opinion of genetically modified (GM) foods.
Most processed food sold in stores contains at least some GM ingredients, such as corn, soy or canola that’s genetically engineered to resist pests or herbicides.
Canada has no mandatory labelling for food made from genetically modified organisms (GMOs), but some producers use a “Non-GMO Project” marketing logo on their packages to indentify their independently verified use of GM-free crops and ingredients.
Insights West vice-president Mario Canseco said B.C. and Alberta residents who dislike GM foods tend to see them as unhealthy and unnatural.
The poll found B.C. respondents with a positive view of genetically modified foods believe they will help increase food production, while supportive Albertans think they can help eliminate hunger.
Women were more likely than men to oppose GM foods, as were B.C. residents compared to Albertans.
Sixty-five per cent of B.C. women surveyed were in favour of a ban, compared to 45 per cent of men.
Only about a third of B.C. residents polled said they always or frequently check products for GM labelling, while 37 per cent said they check that their purchases are organic and around 60 per cent said they check labels for the calories, fat and sodium content.
The Union of B.C. Municipalities last year narrowly passed an unenforceable motion to declare B.C. genetic engineering free after a fierce debate among delegates over the risks and benefits of GM crops.
Health Canada, the World Health Organization and major scientific organizations have rejected claims that GM foods are less safe to eat, although opposition is not limited to concerns over human health.