Consumer confidence in the safety of food supplies in Europe has decreased significantly as a result of a number of food scares that took place in the second half of the 1990s that are unrelated to GM foods. This has also had an impact on discussions about the acceptability of GM foods. Consumers have questioned the validity of risk assessments, both with regard to consumer health and environmental risks, focusing in particular on long-term effects. Other topics debated by consumer organizations have included allergenicity and antimicrobial resistance. Consumer concerns have triggered a discussion on the desirability of labelling GM foods, allowing for an informed choice of consumers.
15. Economic Concerns
Bringing a genetically modified food to market can be a costly and lengthy process, and of course, agricultural bio-technology companies want to ensure a profitable ROI. So, many new plant genetic engineering technologies and products have been patented, and patent infringement is a big concern within the agribusiness. Also, consumer advocates are worried that this will raise seed prices to very high levels that third-world countries and small farmers cannot afford them, thus widening the gap between the rich and the poor.