Are wealthy corporates gaining ground with government and farming media?

13 Jan

igdThe Institute of Grocery Distribution has been tracking shoppers’ attitudes to GM foods since the 1990s and revisited the topic last year  (May 2012).

Like the Farmers Guardian, the Scottish Farmer is giving prominent coverage to GM–friendly articles, covering Mark Lynas’ change of mind this week and returning to the May IGD report, asking: Are consumers calming down?

In fact, as the report finds, attitudes have remained fairly constant over the past decade. Though somewhat masked by more favourable answers to minor questions about awareness – which will reinforce the corporate-political persuasion that the ‘stupid’ populace needs even more ‘education’ – the main facts reported in the Scottish Farmer are that in spring 2012:

  • 51% of shoppers said in effect – don’t know
  • 13% were strongly opposed
  • 3% were strongly in favour

Were they being economical with the truth? See the chart from the IGD website:

IGD findings

And why don’t they ask how many would buy the stuff? I guess because they don’t want to hear the answer.

This fear is also behind the time and money spent by the GM industry world-wide to resist labelling, succeeding in California recently, despite nationwide polls indicating a politically bipartisan vote of over 90% in favour of labelling genetically modified food.

The content and stance of the BBC’s Farming Today and the Farmers Guardian has overwhelmingly changed for the worse over the years and the writer did not renew her FG subscription this year. See its tone in 2002:

Labelling GM foods (Farmers Guardian 10.5.02)

The EU is proposing to amend a directive which would make it compulsory to label all food containing GM ingredients or derivatives. It has also applied an informal moratorium on approvals for GM food crops.

Now the US is preparing to demand that the WTO overturns the proposed amendment and is threatening a trade war if Brussels does not back down.

Countries including China, Croatia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and New Zealand have sought to implement restrictions on GM imports or introduce compulsory labelling. In each case they have backed down after the USA threatened action at the WTO.

As Tom Macmillan said at the Oxford Farming Conference: the promotion of GM technology is not driven by any desire to feed the world’s poor or improve the natural environment but by Monsanto, Syngenta and Bayer’s desire for ever-increasing profit.


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