There is an Australian trend towards greater acceptance of genetically modified foods, the Cranberra Times reported on Tuesday. On the eve of his speech at the Australian Institute for Food Science and Technology conference in Adelaide, the manager of public awareness at Biotechnology Australia, Craig Cormick, said a survey had found that people were becoming more sophisticated in their attitudes. Fewer were taking up positions of either direct opposition or unconditional support. "For instance, we are getting increasing acceptance of plants with additional plant genes, but not with animal genes," he said. At first glance, the survey results seem contradictory. For instance, the number of people who said they would eat genetically modified foods had risen from 25 per cent in 1999 to 49 per cent now. Yet there was a decrease of 9 per cent in the number of people who thought such foods were useful to society, and an increase of 6 per cent among those who believed they were a risk. "Consumers are more discerning . . . for instance, there has been a drop from 51 per cent to 43 per cent in people who said they would eat GM food if it were modified to taste better. By comparison, 60 per cent said they would eat the food if it had been modified to be healthier." The newspaper reports that a prime example was cotton plants genetically modified by the CSIRO to produce healthier cooking oils and margarines. According to the survey there would also be greater acceptance if genetically modified foods were labelled. This will start in December. While understanding of genetically modified food was increasing, there was still misinformation: 64 per cent of people surveyed believed genetically modified fresh fruit and vegetables were sold in supermarkets, which was incorrect. Mr Cormick said genetically modified food manufacturers had made poor decisions about which crops should go on to the market first. "They should have begun with those which had an obvious health benefit."