Wednesday, 9 July 2008

High food prices may cut opposition to genetically modified food

ZURICH: Like many stores in Europe, the Coop chain of supermarkets in Switzerland does not specify whether goods are genetically modified - because none are. But a wave of food-price inflation may help wash away popular opposition to so-called Frankenstein foods.
"I think there's a lot of resistance in Switzerland," said a shopper, Beatrice Hochuli, as she picked out a salad for dinner at a bustling supermarket outside the main Zurich station. "Most people in Switzerland are quite against it."
Consumers, even those from relatively wealthy parts of the world, are rarely first in line to adopt new technologies. Although food prices are up more than 50 percent since May 2006, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization's Food Price Index, Europeans remain wary of foods derived from tinkering with the genetic makeup of plants.
But policy makers and food companies are pressing the genetic modification topic in a bid to temper aversion to biotech crops like pesticide-resistant rapeseed for oils and "Roundup-ready" soybeans, which tolerate dousing of the Roundup herbicide.
These are crops already common in the United States and other major food exporters like Argentina and Brazil.

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