Kynda R. Curtis
Department of Applied Economics and Statistics, University of Nevada, Reno
Jill J. McCluskey
School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University, Pullman
Thomas I. Wahl
IMPACT and School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University, Pullman

Worldwide consumer response toward food products made from genetically modified (GM) ingredients has been largely negative. However, the majority of the previous studies on consumer attitudes towards food products were conducted in developed countries in Europe as well as Japan. The small number of studies conducted in developing nations obtain different results from those of the developed world. This paper considers the motivations for consumer attitudes towards GM foods in developing nations. We conclude that the generally positive perception towards genetically modified foods in developing nations stems from more urgent needs in terms of food availability and nutritional content. Additionally, perceived levels of risk may be smaller due to trust in government, positive perceptions of science, and positive media influences. This is contrary to the smaller benefits and higher perceived risks found in many developed countries, and hence, the rational for low or nonacceptance of GM foods in those countries.

Key words: Biotechnology, developing nations, genetically modified foods.