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Acceptability of genetically modified maize by young people

Anthimia M. Batrinou (Technological Educational Institution (TEI) of Athens, Athens, Greece)
Vassilis Spiliotis (Technological Educational Institution (TEI) of Athens, Athens, Greece)
George Sakellaris (Institute of Biological Research and Biotechnology, National Hellenic Research Foundation, Athens, Greece)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 21 March 2008




The purpose of this paper is to examine how label information may affect the acceptability by young consumers of a food produced by genetic engineering methods.


A popular snack derived from maize (corn chip) was presented with five different labels (“organic corn”, “conventional corn”, “product that contains genetically modified (GM) corn”, “product that contains GM corn approved by EU”, “non‐classified corn”) to 229 university students in Greece in order to taste it.


The results obtained showed that the GM label evoked a deeply rooted negative attitude as more than half of participants (63 per cent) refused to taste even a single piece of the product. The product labelled “GM but approved by EU” was viewed as more credible but still 28 per cent refused to sample. The conclusion was that although the feeling of trust increased considerably when the label message was supported by a certifying authority, a large proportion (almost one third) of participants refused to taste a product that had been approved by the EU for nearly a decade.

Practical implications

This result demonstrated in an emphatic way a degree of phobia concerning GM food and the importance of carefully worded labelling.


The attitude of consumers after direct experience with a GM food product had never been reported for Greece and these findings may serve as an exploratory tool for further investigations on GM food related attitudes.



Batrinou, A.M., Spiliotis, V. and Sakellaris, G. (2008), "Acceptability of genetically modified maize by young people", British Food Journal, Vol. 110 No. 3, pp. 250-259.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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