Genetic Engineering

Unspinning the Web of Corporate Influence

When it comes to stealthy PR campaigns, the biotech industry has spared no expense. For the past six years, the UK-based public interest group GM Watch has been tracking and documenting biotech's dirty tricks, learning that the PR web reaches further than just GM food.


B-M's Biotech Front Group Exposed in the UK

"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.


BP & B-M in the UK: Greenwashers Under Fire

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.


Who Twists the Helix

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.


Ozeki's New Novel Features Biotech Food Flacks

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.


The Covert Biotech War

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.



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