The Washington Post contains an article on a recent survey by Oklahoma State University where over 80 percent of Americans support “mandatory labels on foods containing DNA,”
The Oklahoma State survey result is probably an example of the intersection between scientific ignorance and political ignorance, both of which are widespread.The most obvious explanation for the data is that most of these people don’t really understand what DNA is, and don’t realize that it is contained in almost all food. When they read that a strange substance called “DNA” might be included in their food, they might suspect that this is some dangerous chemical inserted by greedy corporations for their own nefarious purposes.
The article discusses the wider issue of scientific ignorance driving policy decisions, and there is some further comment at io9. A summary of the full survey results is available (PDF).
So when I buy my little tub of fruit salad, I demand the full sequence of every distinct DNA present be printed (in no less than 9 point type) on the side of the container.
Of course that would required the surface area of the label to be about the same as a shipping container.
I think this is misguided and could be used to skew the argument for labelling GMOs (eg: "those people are crazy, don't they know everything we grow to eat has DNA").
Personally, I have no problem eating GMOs - I don't have allergies and unless they introduce some really novel proteins or something then I trust my gut. Label them and let the market decide.
Introducing GMOs into the environment willy-nilly without some regulation... that's a different story.