Award Date

5-1-2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Environmental and Occupational Health

First Committee Member

Carolee Dodge-Francis

Second Committee Member

Patricia Cruz

Third Committee Member

Mark Buttner

Fourth Committee Member

Daniel Benyshek

Number of Pages

81

Abstract

Today, 85% of corn, 93% of soybeans, and 88% of cotton in the U.S. are genetically modified (GM). Using laboratory methods, genes from one species, such as a plant, can be transferred to an unrelated species, such as an animal. Genetically modified crops may lead to higher yields, have improved food quality, texture, and nutritional value, and have an increased shelf life.

Despite these promising benefits, the potential health risks relating to the consumption of GM food remain inadequately assessed. Genetically modified food is not subjected to rigorous safety testing, such as epidemiologic studies, to identify potential health risks. Two principal public health concerns include the development of novel allergens in GM food and increased pesticide exposure from consuming such food. Other concerns relate to environmental and social impacts of GM food. Nine participants were recruited for this study. Three main themes emerged, which emphasized vegetarian and vegan diets, increasing consumption of whole foods and reducing processed foods, and having the right to know whether food contains GM ingredients. The results of this study have revealed that natural food shoppers' perceptions of GM food play an important role in food purchasing behaviors.

Keywords

Consumers – Attitudes; Food – Safety measures; Genetically modified foods; Genetically modified organisms; Genetic engineering; Genetic modification; Natural foods; Nutrition; Public health; Transgenic organisms

Disciplines

Agricultural Science | Agriculture | Food Biotechnology | Nutrition | Public Health

Language

English


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