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Republic of KoreaRepublic of Korea - Survey on Korean public perception of LMOs and the LMO Act
1. Background

Each year, Korea BCH conducts a survey to gain an accurate grasp of Korean people’s perception of biotechnology and LMOs, as well as their attitudes on the topic and their demands.  Below are the results of the survey held from November to December of 2010.


2. Methodology

- Survey target: 1,000 male and female adults aged 19~64.
- Sampling Method : Proportional Quota Sampling
- Data Collection Method : Face-to-face Interview
- Sampling Error : 95-percent confidence level with ±3.09%


3.Key findings

Not much change was found in people’s attitudes towards GM technology.  However, concern over the impact of LMOs on humans and the environment has been easing, with positive expectations about the effects of LMOs increasing slightly compared to last year.

Approximately 76.5% of respondents were aware of the existence of LMOs, but had a low knowledge level on the subject.

Among those who had heard of LMOs, 25.1% responded that they had heard of the LMO Act, but the majority did not know the specific details of the Act.

When given 13 questions on their understanding of biotechnology and LMOs, approximately 54% answered correctly, while respondents displayed a relatively low knowledge level of LMO trends in Korea.

Half of all respondents (53.5%) said that GM technology would benefit humanity, while 11% were negative about its prospects, citing reasons such as that it is “against nature”, and/or its “effects on humans and degree of safety are questionable”.

Despite hopes about the potential of GM technology, people showed a generally low inclination in purchasing and using related food (28%) and livestock (18%).

High standards are still demanded for strict safety control in LMO treatment, preservation and distribution, but such demands are being alleviated (93.4% in 2008, 90% in 2009, 87% in 2010).

Social acceptance of LMOs has increased 6.6% from last year, with 32.7% approving the chnology.

Respondents revealed that they generally receive information on LMOs through TV (87.2%), the Internet (33.1%), newspapers (32.3%), and other people (21%) (multiple response possible).

Respondents indicated the most necessary information as being “risk and safety issues (74.1%)”, “GM technology applications (26%)”, and “impact on the environment (25.1%)”.

As can be learned from the above results, people have mixed feelings about GM technology and LMOs, including both concern and expectations.  Such attitudes indicate that there is room for discussions with the public about the proper course that science and technology should take, which would have a positive influence on society.  For the formation of such a forum, public understanding about the concepts, development process and application areas for new technologies such as GM must precede.  Korea BCH shall continue to strive in achieving these goals.