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NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. - A new survey conducted by the Food Policy Institute at Rutgers University finds that only 26 percent of Americans surveyed think they've eaten food made from a genetically modified crop, Scripps Howard News Service reports.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that 81 percent of soybeans planted in the United States this year were modified, along with 73 percent of cotton and 40 percent of corn.
The survey of 1,201 adults, which was funded by the USDA, found that overall knowledge about both genetically modified foods and food production remains poor, although a bit better than in 2001.
Fifty-two percent of the respondents were aware that genetically modified food products are in supermarkets, up from 41 percent who thought so in 2001.
"Americans have no idea that foods with genetically modified ingredients are already for sale in the U.S.," said William Hallman, lead author of the study released Wednesday and associate director of the food biotechnology program at the institute. "But bottom line, if you eat processed foods, you're probably eating GM ingredients."
Less than 1 percent of those surveyed volunteered that they would like to see genetically modified ingredients on food labels. But when asked directly about such labels, 94 percent said they thought it would be a good idea.
Eighty percent of respondents said they had never -- or only once or twice -- discussed genetic modification with anyone, and 77 percent admitted they knew little or nothing about it.
When asked directly, 49 percent said they approved of plant-based genetically modified foods, down 9 percent from a 2001 survey, and 27 percent said they were comfortable with animal-based genetically modified foods.