"Worried that county bans on biotech crops could spread throughout the state, mainstream farm groups from the California Cattlemen's Association to the national Farm Bureau are marshaling their resources," reports the Sacramento Bee.
"One of the most compelling speakers at the recent Biotechnology Industry Organization conference ... wasn't a researcher or a venture capitalist, but a representative of a special agency with the FBI," Paul Holmes writes for PR Week.
"A consortium of the nation's biggest agribusinesses Monday reported pumping $150,000 in last-minute contributions into a campaign to defeat a Mendocino County initiative that would ban genetically engineered farm products," the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports.
"Few could question the sentiment behind the campaign: a fight against cervical cancer. A clutch of famous women, including Liz Hurley, Caprice and Carol Vorderman, signed up to support a crusade to introduce a new NHS screening test that could save the lives of thousands of women. The campaign is due to reach the House of Commons on Wednesday, when MPs will be lobbied on the issue.
A new global directory on the massive and deceptive PR push behind genetically engineered food is now available free online from the British organization GM Watch. The directory examines many of the key PR operators, front groups, corporate-friendly
In Britain "Burson-Marsteller, the public relations agency used by the oil, GM, tobacco and chemical industries, is to represent the government's pollution watchdog, in a move that environmentalists yesterday described as 'barmy'." B-M's clients have included biotech behemoth Monsanto, and B-M's spying on food activists in the US in 1990 inspired the founding of PR Watch.
The "Who Twists the Helix" international conference taking place at the University of Cambridge this week is one of many meetings around the world marking the 50th Anniversary of the discovery of DNA. The conference bills itself as "a trans-disciplinary exploration of the powers that could decide our genetic futures" that includes a "Genetic Futures Jury," a panel of non-specialist citizens who will vote on the key issues discussed at the conference.
Ruth Ozeki's second novel, All Over Creation, is praised today in separate reviews in both the San Francisco Chronicle and the New York Times. Her first novel, My Year of Meats, skewered the beef industry's PR efforts to promote its product in Japan and examined the health hazards of growth hormones. This time Ozeki again looks at food and PR, specifically the the genetic engineering of potatoes.
PR Watch has posted previous reports on the biotech food industry's use of the Internet to fake independent criticism of anti-GM groups. Now George Monbiot, who has also reported on deceptive biotech practices, takes a look at recent efforts to use hunger in Africa as a marketing hook for genetically modified foods.