EMAC director Nicholas Kalaitzandonakes co-authored new article titled: Media Coverage, Public Perceptions, and Consumer Behavior: Insights from New Food Technologies. The media often play the role of translating new science to consumers. The article discusses the recent literature that has examined the supply and demand factors that affect media coverage of new food technologies and the impact on public perceptions and consumer behavior toward food that utilizes these technologies. The article starts with a discussion of the ways in which the media influence public perceptions and consumer behavior related to foods made with new technologies. It then covers the incentives of news media and the potential sources of biases in their reporting. The article reviews empirical studies that have examined media reporting of new agricultural and food technologies, especially biotechnology, in terms of both their agenda setting and framing effects and the social amplification of risk. It also synthesizes the findings of studies that have examined the influence of media coverage on public attitudes and consumer behavior.
McCluskey, J., N. Kalaitzandonakes, and J. Swinnen “Media Coverage, Public Perceptions, and Consumer Behavior: Insights from New Food Technologies” Annual Review of Resource Economics, 8:467–86, 2016
See the article here.
On a Tuesday morning in September, under a sweltering tropical sun on the island of Grand Cayman, 140,000 mosquitoes flit around in four large coolers in the back of a gray Toyota minivan. Behind the wheel is Renaud Lacroix, a Ph.D. in biology and medical entomology who works for the British biotechnology company Oxitec. A colleague, Isavella Evangelou, crouches behind him in a tight space next to the coolers. The minivan is idling on the side of a dirt road in West Bay, a quiet neighborhood where iguanas and roosters dart in and out of the yards of small homes painted in Caribbean pastels. The time has come for the mosquitoes to fulfill the purpose for which they were genetically engineered: a kamikaze mission to eliminate their own species.
The U.S. Senate has passed, by a vote of 63 to 30, a bill that would create a national standard for labeling food made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Yesterday’s vote marks a win for food companies, farm groups, and biotech firms, which have been pushing the federal government to set a single national standard in hopes of heading off a patchwork of state labeling laws, such as one that went into effect in Vermont on 1 July. But GMO critics say the bill fails to adequately protect consumers who want to know if a product contains GM ingredients.
The focus on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) has lately been intense. While GMO has given the world new medications and new foods, the science has also created a backlash to companies like the agricultural/chemical giant Monsanto, which controls and develops proprietary rights to GMO plant seeds.
But scientific plant modification is hardly a new phenomenon. For instance,