Document Type

Honors Thesis




Ek Han Tan

Committee Members

Seanna Annis, Mark Haggerty, Jeremy Parker, Rachel Schattman

Graduation Year

May 2021

Publication Date

Spring 5-2021


While commonplace in our grocery stores, GMO-foods have persevered through years of controversy. As the availability of bioengineered(BE) commodities grows and biotechnical industries make strides, studies have shown that the average consumers’ knowledge concerning biotechnology has not. In addition to widely held misconceptions and the general lack of knowledge regarding bioengineered commodities reported by young adults, especially students, the recent United States Department of Agriculture mandate for BE product labeling prompts further research into the consumer perspective on bioengineered products. This research looked to expand upon prior work regarding students’ individual perspective towards topics such as GMOs, knowledge of BE products, and BE labeling. A survey was designed for this project and administered twice to the students of the Fall 2020 BIO 350 Concepts and Applications of Genetics course. Approximately sixty-five evaluable responses to the pre-and post-surveys were compared and statistically analyzed to determine trends after completing a full semester of an undergraduate genetics course. This work found that, while students tend to have optimistic and increasingly positive attitudes towards GMO foods and the BE label, they often struggle to relay their objective knowledge on the subject. Similar to findings by Hallman et al. (2013), another key result was an apparent discrepancy between students’ high self-reported familiarity with BE foods and the actual availability of BE foods. Considering their growing presence in our food systems, scale of public misconception, and the approaching BE labeling compliance date, consumer concerns and attitudes towards GMO products and bioengineering must be evaluated.