b'GMOS HAVEGMOS HAVE HADa major image problem for years. While its easy to point the finger at anti-GM activists, three experts say our own industry is often largely to blame.A 2018 survey by the American Marketing Association AN IMAGEfound that consumers feel genetically modified (GM) foods are unnatural, immoral and unsafe, despite some 70% of processed foods in Canada and the United States already containing them.PROBLEM A 2018 Chinese study found that nearly half of people surveyed had a negative impression of GM foods.The European Commission has implemented strict GMO labeling laws.A study from March of this year published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Research found over half When it comes to communicating withof the Canadian consumers surveyed say they are worried consumers, we often do it wrong. about GM foods.Clearly, these foods have an image problem. But why, Heres how we can get it right.Marc Zienkiewicz and what can be done about it?To understand where the negative impressions con-sumers have come from, we have to go back in his-tory, says Andreas Boecker, associate professor with the Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Guelph.The first GMOs came to market in the 1990s, he notesaround the same time the Bovine spongiform encepha-lopathy (BSE/mad cow disease) scare occurred in Europe. At the time, Boecker was completing his PhD in agricul-tural economics in Germany.BSE created a total breakdown of trust among European consumers. It was perceived as a conspiracy between industry and government, where consumer inter-est and consumer safety were put at the very end of the 26GERMINATION.CAJANUARY 2022'