Anticipating public reaction to the use of genetic engineering in infant nutrition

Am J Clin Nutr. 1996 Apr;63(4):657S-62S. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/63.4.657.


Public acceptance of new food products will be the major determinant of their commercial success. I present selected findings from two national social science research projects aimed at gauging consumer knowledge of and understanding consumer attitudes about biotechnology, as well as about the specific use of genetic engineering in milk production. People are more willing to accept products if they understand them and are assured by credible sources that such products are safe and effective. Perceived health concerns and ethical issues will be important to many people and are an important challenge to acceptance. Women tend to be more skeptical about these new products than are men. I make recommendations for more-effective educational efforts, based on social science research, that could increase acceptance by key consumer groups and, ultimately, the commercial success of bioengineered food products.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biotechnology
  • Consumer Behavior*
  • Female
  • Genetic Engineering*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Food
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male