There’s DNA in Your Food!

In the tradition of Penn & Teller’s hilarious send-up of food activists signing a petition to ban water, the otherwise rather serious authors of the monthly Food Demand Survey sometimes try to have a little fun. While the bulk of the survey deals with consumers’ willingness to pay for pork, chicken, or beef, and their weekly food expenditures, it also contains some “ad-hoc” questions, some serious – and some not so much. Consumer responses to these questions range from the interesting to the downright hilarious. In December 2014, for example, a whopping 20.41% of consumers said they would eat a protein bar made from – insect flour. That’s rather impressive – and very sensible of them. The January 2015 edition, however, contained a real gem. At first priming their respondents (victims?) with questions straight from the CSPI playbook: “a tax on sugared soda?” (Opposed, at 60.91%), “mandatory calorie labels on restaurant menus?” (Supported, at 69.11%), and “Mandatory labels on foods produced with genetic engineering?” (Supported, at 82.28%), the authors went straight for the absurd and asked about support for the “mandatory labels for foods containing DNA.” Result? 80.44% support this. Yes, that’s right – 80.44% of consumers appear to support the mandatory labelling of foods containing DNA. And frankly, I think that’s a great idea. Congress should get right to it. As soon as it is done with the “Let me Google that for You Bill” currently before the Senate.

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