Americans Say Hunger More Urgent World Problem Than Global Warming and
More than Two-Thirds Support the Use of Food and Agricultural
Biotechnology as a Tool to Help Solve Problem
Des Moines, IA – The American people believe that hunger and malnutrition
are more urgent global problems than disease, pollution and global
warming, according to a new poll released today at the World Food Prize
awards in Des Moines, Iowa.
According to the survey of 1,000 adults, conducted for the Alliance for
Better Foods, hunger and malnutrition are considered an urgent problem by
75 percent of American adults, compared with the 68 percent who feel
disease and epidemics are urgent problems; 66 percent for pollution and
environmental damage; and 43 percent for global warming.
By a margin of more than two to one – 69 percent to 26 percent – Americans
support the use of biotechnology in food and agriculture and nearly three
out of every four adults, 71 percent, believe biotechnology can help
resolve problems of world hunger and malnutrition.
C. Manly Molpus, President and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers of
America, a founding member of the Alliance for Better Foods, today said
"the poll demonstrates that Americans are more concerned than ever about
feeding the world’s growing population and that the benefits of
biotechnology are being increasingly recognized as important tool in
meeting the food challenges of the 21st century."
When asked about several approaches to solving the problem of world hunger
and malnutrition, 86 percent of respondents said that training more people
to grow their own food would make a big, or some, contribution; 72 percent
said distributing surplus grain to poor countries and international
charities would help; 71 percent said using biotechnology to develop crops
that are more productive or grow in harsh conditions would be of benefit;
and 46 percent saw the value of increasing U.S. government aid to poor
The poll also found strong support for the use of biotechnology in a
variety of agricultural applications:
˙ 80% support using biotechnology to make foods more nutritious;
˙ 81% support using biotechnology to develop crops requiring fewer
˙ 81% support using biotechnology to develop crops that need less land and
˙ 82% support using biotechnology to develop trees that grow faster;
˙ 75% support biotechnology to develop foods that stay fresh longer; and
˙ 71% support biotechnology to develop foods containing natural vaccines.
"The response by Americans in [this] poll is heartening," said Dr. C.S.
Prakash, Director of the Center for Plant Biotechnology Research at
Tuskegee University. "It affirms what most agricultural scientists and
policy makers have been saying all along. Science and technology can
continue to make a positive contribution in alleviating world hunger, and
Americans overwhelmingly support initiatives to increase agricultural
productivity and the use of biotechnology in addressing concerns of global
food and nutritional security."
The survey, conducted by KRC Research & Consulting, consisted of a random
sample of 1,000 adults in the United States. Interviews were conducted
between September 15 and September 18, 2000, and the results have an
estimated margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent for proportions
near 50 percent. The full survey is available on the Alliance for Better
Foods Web site at www.betterfoods.org.
The Alliance for Better Foods represents diverse agriculture and food
related groups, including farmers, processors, distributors and retailers;
scientists and food technologists; and professionals in other fields
dedicated to improving nutrition, protecting the environment and fighting
world hunger. The Alliance supports biotechnology and the significant
benefits it offers to consumers and to those that produce and process
foods, and is committed to helping people understand those benefits as
well as the safety of using biotechnology in foods.
CONTACT: Gene Grabowski, GMA
October 12, 2000 202-337-9400