Whose Genes Couldn’t Use A Little Modification?

Badmouthed for years by the health police, beef made a comeback by adopting an explicitly macho image. Maybe it’s time for genetically engineered (gm) foods to try the same approach. These foods certainly haven’t made much headway with women. In a telephone poll for ABCNews.com, 62 percent of female respondents declared gm foods “unsafe,” while just 25 percent said they’re safe. Among men, on the other hand, 46 percent said such foods are safe, versus 40 percent calling them unsafe. And while 65 percent of women said they’d be less likely to buy a food that’s labeled as gm, just 49 percent of men said the same. Industry resistance to labels that disclose gm components has cast such fare as the food that dare not speak its name—scarcely a way to entice consumers of either gender. Since men appear less hostile to gm food, marketers might as well pitch it as ideal for manly practitioners of extreme eating. (“Unreal food for real men” suggests itself as a slogan.) Meanwhile, the poll also shows a basis for further gains by organic food. Forty-nine percent of men and 54 percent of women said they’d be more likely to buy a food if it were labeled as organic.