Health professionals hold positive attitudes toward biotechnology and genetically engineered foods.

Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation, Sudlersville, MD 21668, USA.
Journal of environmental health (Impact Factor: 0.89). 07/2005; 67(10):44-9.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Few biotechnology processes have elicited the degree of controversy that genetic manipulation of food through recombinant DNA technology has. Research has shown that consumers turn to health professionals for answers to questions regarding health and nutrition. This study sought to assess the knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs of physicians (MDs/DOs), nurse practitioners (NPs), and registered dietitians (RDs) toward food biotechnology and genetic engineering (GE). Six hundred three-part, self-administered surveys were sent to health professionals holding active professional licenses. Statistical analysis included analysis of variance with Tukey's HSD and Scheffe's post hoc tests. Attitudes toward GE were positive. MDs held more positive attitudes than NPs or RDs (p = .000). MDs and NPs supported the use of GE to improve plant resistance to pests; RDs tended to support nutritional-improvement technology. All groups supported the use of GE to produce human medicines and the current Food and Drug Administration (FDA) labeling policy. No profession was more knowledgeable than another. Biotechnology holds the potential to positively affect human health. All health professionals can facilitate or diminish this process through their understanding of the technology and their ability to communicate effectively about the science and issues associated with biotechnology.

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