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American Journal of Food Technology
Year: 2012  |  Volume: 7  |  Issue: 3  |  Page No.: 101 - 112

Socio-Demographic Factors Influencing Public Perception of Genetically Modified Food in Saudi Arabia

Jameel M. Al-Khayri and Magda I. Hassan    

Abstract: Consumers’ awareness and attitude towards GM food vary among different nations and thought to be affected by socio-demographic attributes. The present study was conducted to assess the consumer knowledge about GM food and to determine the level of acceptance of GM products in Saudi Arabia. A consumer questionnaire was designed to generate a demographic profile for participating consumers and assess their perception. Data were collected in Al-Hassa, Eastern Province, based on 420 randomly selected participants. The results indicated that distribution of information about GM food is limited. This was reflected in the percentage of subjects that were familiar with GM food which was only 65%. Though, their knowledge in basic biology was relatively higher, nearly 90%. Differences in knowledge and acceptance about GM food of males and females were not significant but females were slightly more opposed. The study has shown that education, income and age play a crucial role in consumers’ decisions regarding GM food. Overall, only about 46% of the population tested indicated acceptance of GM food; whereas, nearly 54% rejected consuming GM food. The vast majority of the studied subjects preferred GM food labeling. It can be concluded that the commercialization of GM foods may receive some resistance from over half of the Saudi consumers.

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