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Maybe Not to Eat…

Forty-three percent of respondents to a University of Tokyo survey said they did not want to eat agricultural products that had been modified using gene-editing tools, Mainichi reports.

It adds that researchers led by Masato Uchiyama from the University of Tokyo's Institute of Medical Science conducted an online survey of some 10,700 people. In it, Uchiyama and his colleagues asked how people felt about consuming food that had undergone gene editing. According to Mainichi, 53 percent of respondents said they would not want to eat gene-edited animal products.

But, it notes that a large part of the Japanese public appear to not have made up their minds about whether they would want to eat gene-edited food. Nearly 48 percent of respondents said they weren't sure whether or not they would eat edited produce and about 40 percent said they weren't sure whether or not they would eat edited meat, Mainichi adds.

Japan's Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare is to allow gene-edited food on to the market as early as this summer, it says, adding it won't have to undergo safety inspections.

"Public awareness and understanding of genome editing is still low," researcher Kaori Muto tells Mainichi. "If the move to green-light these products for the market continues to be as slipshod as it has been, there's a chance Japanese citizens won't accept them."