U.S. families are becoming increasingly aware of unlabeled genetically modified organisms in foods in the marketplace, according to the latest consumer survey conducted for the Organic Trade Association. To that end, consumers are turning to organic foods in an effort to avoid foods made with genetically engineered ingredients.

Results from the U.S. Families' Organic Attitudes and Beliefs 2013 Tracking Study show that 32 percent of parents who learned about genetically modified organisms in the news are significantly more likely to increase their organic purchases.

"The U.S. Department of Agriculture organic label is basically the gold standard for consumers to be sure that the foods they are buying are produced without genetically engineered ingredients," said Christine Bushway, Organic Trade Association CEO and executive director, adding that without national regulations requiring labeling for genetically modified organisms, consumers cannot be sure that genetic engineering was not used in the production of many products in the marketplace. "It is important for parents to know they have a choice when buying food for their families," she said.

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Families continue to cite their desire for healthful options, especially for their children, in choosing organic foods. Those who said their primary reason for choosing organic is to avoid genetically modified organisms has now reached 22 percent — up from 17 percent in 2011. The leading reason continues to be that parents want to avoid pesticides and fertilizers (30 percent) and antibiotics or synthetic hormones (29 percent) in food they purchase for their families.

The online survey, conducted January 18–January 24, included responses from KIWI Magazine's Parents' Advisory Board as well as a national online panel of 1,239 U.S. households.