It hogged headlines, drove a wedge between top ministers and set off widespread protests, but a few Indians are aware of Bt brinjal, India's first genetically modified (GM) food on hold, according to a Greenpeace Survey released Friday.
Housewives, thought to be key to a family's choice of food, were found to be especially ignorant.
Only 33 per cent of 5,599 respondents across six cities said they were as much familiar with GM foods/crops as the swine flu epidemic.
The poll, conducted by Gfk Mode, glossed over key questions around the GM debate — whether government decisions are trusted or if people would accept GM foods at all.
"These are still to be done. Right now, we wanted to gauge awareness and right to dissent," Jai Krishna of Greenpeace said.
Upon being made aware, 61 per cent said they would want to know if a food is genetically modified before buying and 90 per cent think they have a right to protest or reject government decisions on GM food/crops.
Some findings were seemingly paradoxical. While only 33 per cent were found aware of GM issues, 64 per cent said they did not trust GM seed companies. However, the findings clearly reveal that consumers don't want a GM food forced down their throat.
Anti-GM groups are strongly opposed to clauses in an upcoming biotechnology legislation that purportedly curtails public opposition to GM issues.
The draft Bill apparently allows only elected representatives to intervene in matters of GM crops.