More Than Half of Consumers Connect Food Additives With Increased Risk of Disease

Consumers are growing more concerned with what's added to their food.

More Than Half of Consumers Connect Food Additives With Increased Risk of Disease
Credit: iStock/bradleyhebdon

More than half of U.S. consumers think food additives contribute to serious health risks, a new report from the Pew Research Center revealed. 

“As consumers are confronted with new food technologies and ongoing debates over how what we eat can have a lasting impact on one’s health, this study has revealed a divided public over food issues. Women and people who care deeply about the issue of GM foods are more wary of health risks from food additives and GM foods,” Cary Funk, Director of Science and Society Research at Pew Research Center and lead author of the report, said in a statement. 

The research looked at consumer opinions on genetically modified ingredients as well as food additives such as colors and flavors used in processed foods. Nearly 70 percent of consumers polled aren’t anti-science when it comes to food, though, noting that it has a mostly positive outcome.

That is, until they were asked about genetically modified foods. Roughly half of those polled felt genetically modified ingredients make food a bigger health risk.

“While there are consistent patterns in public beliefs about these food science issues, the divides do not fall along political lines. Instead, people seem to form their own ‘food ideologies’ about the relationship between health and the foods they consume,” Funk notes.

 The research noted that the biggest public concern is about animal meat, particularly when exposed to hormones or antibiotics, and produce when it’s exposed to pesticides and herbicides. Consumers are also moving away from foods that contain artificial sweeteners, such as diet soda and soft drinks.

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