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UK Scientist Resigns: ‘GM Dialogue’ Naked PR for Industry

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UK regulator Food Standards Agency must be held to account for ignoring incontrovertible evidence of harm and persisting in promoting GM food to the nation at taxpayers’ expense

Dr. Mae-Wan Ho June 1, 2010   The Institute of Science in Society

Dr. Helen Wallace, director of GeneWatch UK resigned from UK Food Standards Agency’s Steering Group for GM Dialogue in a strongly worded open letter to the chair [1], exposing and condemning it as a naked “PR exercise on behalf of the GM industry”  at taxpayers’ expense, £500 000 to be precise.

Through freedom of Information, she learned that the FSA met with the industry group the Agricultural Biotechnology Council (ABC) in September 2009 to discuss a “GM public engagement programme”, and in October, the ABC wrote to the FSA stating that “abc welcomes the opportunity to provide suggestions on the individuals and groups that would add value to the FSA GM engagement Steering Group.” And while it supports the activity and understand the importance of the initiative,  it believes  “GM must be presented as an option within the wider context of food security as part of a solution to feeding a growing population.” The industry also suggested edits to a draft FSA report to the Food Strategy Task Force, which claims that lack of demand and rising costs will drive out non-GM feed supplies, and GM and non-GM feed should no longer be segregated. In a subsequent report, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the FSA supported the industry’s line that ‘zero tolerance’ of unapproved GM crops in the EU threatens food supplies.

Not surprisingly, the background materials provided to the Steering Group by the FSA claim that “current problems with the supply of non-GM soya mean that over the next 12 months retailers and food manufacturers will need to consider whether they can sustain their current GM-Free stance” and: “The Government has recommended that discussions take place in the wider context of global food supply to take account of the long term security of global food production and changing food prices.” FSA has persistently refused to allow debate on the role of GM in feeding the world.

In her letter, Wallace pointed out that FSA’s policy note – which took six months to produce – does not suggest the public should be in any way consulted about plans to allow the contamination of feed shipments with unauthorised GM, or about the lack of labelling for meat or dairy products derived from animals fed on GM feed.

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The Lobbyists Health Bill- PR triumphs over the facts

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How many times can you fool the American people?  Evidently, they’ll swallow whatever PR you feed them.

Ralph Nader writes in Craven Democrats:

President Obama said that he and the Democrats had pushed back against the “special interests.”

In fact, the bill that was passed by the House Sunday night was a result of a deal President Obama and the Democrats cut last year with the pharmaceutical industry.

And it was written with the help of former insurance industry lobbyists.

Or as the Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne put it – the Democrats are fighting for a Republican health plan.

Last year, former CIGNA executive turned whistleblower Wendell Potter called the bill “a joke” and “an absolute gift to the insurance industry.”

Dr. Margaret Flowers of Physicians for a National Health Program called the bill “a step backwards.”

“This bill further enriches the industries that are the problem,” Dr. Flowers said.

Chris Hedges put it this way:

“This bill is not about fiscal responsibility or the common good.”

“The bill is about increasing corporate profit at taxpayer expense,” Hedges wrote.

“It lavishes hundreds of billions in government subsidies on insurance and drug companies.”

“The some 3,000 (corporate) lobbyists in Washington, whose dirty little hands are all over the bill, have once more betrayed the American people for money.”

“The bill is another example of why change will never come from within the Democratic Party. The party is owned and managed by corporations.”