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18 January 2015 @ 04:48 pm
80 percent of Americans support mandatory labels on foods containing DNA.
Kalimac: puzzlekalimac on January 18th, 2015 09:55 pm (UTC)
Will they try this again with di-hydrogen oxide?
Maia Cmaiac on January 18th, 2015 10:42 pm (UTC)
Hah! I was thinking the same thing.
Avram Grumer: Post-It Portraitagrumer on January 18th, 2015 10:28 pm (UTC)
Do the results indicate what percentage of respondents asked “Wait, ‘DNA’? What exactly do you mean by that?” Or the percentage that thought to themselves “That’s a pretty stupid question. Probably they mean genetically modified food. If I tell them ‘no,’ they’ll interpret that as a vote against labelling GMOs.”?
Kalimac: puzzlekalimac on January 18th, 2015 11:55 pm (UTC)
That's why it should be tried again with di-hydrogen oxide. Then the scientifically literate would know it was a joke.
Avram Grumer: Post-It Portraitagrumer on January 19th, 2015 01:55 am (UTC)
Truth be told, if someone tried that on my in a phone survey, I’d yell at ’em for wasting my time, and hang up.
eub on January 20th, 2015 07:33 am (UTC)
Yeah, meaning the poll shouldn't be read for the ratio of "regulate" versus "don't regulate" responses, it should be read for "regulate" versus the people who hung up the phone...
Young Geoffreyed_rex on January 19th, 2015 03:24 am (UTC)
After we finish patting ourselves on the back for our scientific literacy ...
... I'd like to hazard the suggestion the poll does reflect a quite reasonable desire on the part of the American people to have available full information about what they are offered as "food".

That some of them might not know what to do with the information doesn't mean it shouldn't be easily accessible.
browngirl on January 19th, 2015 05:53 am (UTC)
Re: After we finish patting ourselves on the back for our scientific literacy ...
How full is full enough, though? I mean, should oxygen, nitrogen, etc be listed? What use is it to be told that one's food contains DNA? Maybe instead it would be more useful for people to learn more about what the salient components of food are and how (including mechanisms) those components affect them and the environment.
Young Geoffreyed_rex on January 19th, 2015 10:22 pm (UTC)
Re: After we finish patting ourselves on the back for our scientific literacy ...
I think I wasn't clear. What I was trying to say is that the poll suggests people's instincts are in the right place; if their food does include GMOs, they (we) should know about it and make our decisions accordingly.

I infer that the poll results indicate simply that most of the respondents saw the acronym and either didn't know what it meant or were momentarily confused by it.

What use is it to be told that one's food contains DNA?

Of course DNA shouldn't be on the label, nor should scientific terms for things like oxygen. A secondary thing I take from the poll is that schools need to teach more and better science.

But the general principal remains: we should have a right to know what's in our food.
Marissa Lingenmrissa on January 19th, 2015 01:37 pm (UTC)
When timprov's dad was a teenager, he worked as a bagger at his local grocery store. Leading up to Thanksgiving, he amused himself by saying to the customers, "Excuse me, [sir/ma'am], but did you know that this turkey you bought is dead?" And a staggeringly high percentage of them thanked him and went back to demand a different frozen turkey.

I think there's a certain autopilot that kicks in when people hear a concerned voice asking if you know something or want to know it.
John M. Burtjohn_m_burthotm on January 19th, 2015 06:57 pm (UTC)
I'd like to see all foods labelled prominently which *don't* contain DNA.

I think this is intended, though, as an attempt to defend Monsanto's efforts to make labelling of GMO products illegal. Certainly it could be used for that purpose, to try to silence critics with mockery.

There are legitimate concerns about GMOs, starting with the appearance of allergens in foods which never contained them before.

Monsanto's modesty about their products is laudable -- nobody likes a braggart -- but I think the kindest thing we can do for them is to take the weighty decision from off their shoulders by making it a legal requirement.
Sue Burkemount_oregano on January 19th, 2015 08:52 pm (UTC)
A survey not that long ago here in Spain discovered that most respondents believed that the difference between a "normal" tomato and a genetically engineered tomato was that the genetically engineered one has DNA.
Johnjohnpalmer on January 21st, 2015 04:10 am (UTC)
I know there are some ways of looking at this, but here's what it tells me:

We live in a completely post-truth world.

We know - we *know* - that they didn't explain that DNA is in every living cell, so the cleanest, most pristine foodstuffs contain it. And we have no idea whether people asked "what - you mean like, *DNA* DNA, or something else?" And we know that you can get 80% support for nonsense. And that people will ask what amount to "push polls" and people will trumpet the results if it says something they'd like to have said.

(Um. You didn't, in my terms, "trumpet" the results. You did note them, but you didn't, for example, say "Americans are so fucking stupid that..." or anything.)

I don't know why this survey (and the multiple locations I've seen it reported in) upsets me so much, but it feels like proof positive that no one actually cares about meaning and truth.