Perception of Ghanaian Consumers on Genetically Modified Foods (GM Foods)

Thumbnail Image
November, 2017
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Genetic engineering produces Genetically Modified (GM) foods, which have become a part of the food cultivated in most parts of the world. GM foods have been cultivated for reasons such as improved crop variety, improved nutritional quality, increased yield and availability of foods throughout the year. The aim of this study was to investigate the knowledge of Ghanaian consumers, exporters/importers, farmers and agricultural experts on Genetically Modified food technology and the associated human and environmental risks. A cross-sectional data was collected in the month of April, 2016 through a survey. A total of 314 questionnaires representing 78.50% of administered questionnaire were successfully retrieved and used in the analysis. Descriptive statistics and Chi-square test for group independence were used to analyse data with IBM’s SPSS version 21, and Microsoft Excel (2013). The findings of the study revealed that 64.01% of respondents already knew about GM foods while the remaining 35.99% had never heard about the technology. Respondents had attained knowledge via television (23.42%), through newspaper (18.96%), peers (18.22%), radio (15.99%) and workshop (15.51%). It was observed from the study that respondents who had attained tertiary education (58.81%) were also more knowledgeable in GM than all other respondents whose education was below tertiary (41.20%) level. It was also found that 76.53% respondents generally perceived GM foods to be safe for both human and environmental health, and of this 83.12% were willing to accept and consume GM foods. Acceptability of GM foods did not differ much from male (44.34%) to female (55.66%) respondents; however, respondents with children (46.53%) were somehow reluctant to accept GM foods than those who did not have children (53.47%). Exporters/importers (60.00%) did not think Ghana would lose its export market by adopting biotechnology, if the country export GM foods to only countries that accepted GM foods. Farmers (48.72%) similarly, indicated preference in cultivating GM crops to non-GM crops for issues of post-harvest loses and differences in pesticide control requirement. However, experts’ opinion on GM’s risk to human health (47.06%) and the environment (29.41%) was split, and unclear. The study therefore recommended that while GM should be promoted, it should be done in moderation, not to displace traditional crops, and that experts should research further into the short and long-term effects of GM foods on both the environment and on human health.  
A thesis submitted to the Department of Food Science and Technology, College of Science, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Food Quality Management.