Leaked Monsanto Report
A report written for Monsanto by pollster Stan Greenberg was leaked in November to Greenpeace. It is a fascinating read and shows how far we have come in this campaign. However in light of the revelations of Lord Sainsbury's invested interests in the biotechnology industry and the government's generally pro-biotech stance it is particularly interesting to note the conclusions about the attitudes of the political elites.
Enjoy some of these choice extracts:
"Biotechnology and Monsanto face their toughest European test in Britain....Over the past year, the situation has deteriorated steadily and perhaps at an accelerating pace."
"The latest survey shows an on-going collapse of public support for biotechnology and genetically modified (GM) foods. At each point in this project, we keep thinking that we have reached the low point and that public thinking will stabilise, but we apparently have not reached that point. The latest survey shows a steady decline over the year, which may have accelerated in the most recent period."
When they interviewed retailers...
"They [the supermarkets] carry with them their resentment of Monsanto for badly mismanaging the introduction of biotechnology in Europe and for allowing the issue to be decided in the supermarkets. As a result they are right on the edge - testing public acceptance, but now very open to a moratorium that would get them off the front lines. They are anxious for someone else to move on the front lines, preferably the government."
Some retailers thought there was a "fifty-fifty" chance of "losing to the pressure groups"; "it could turn out like irradiation. Which is, you don't do it."
On the political elite and upper-level civil servants...
"But among the political elite, there is clear evidence of progress. Fully half of the MPs, for example, see benefits as outweighing risks.... Frankly, a moratorium gets little support among the MPs and civil servants."
The above excerpts show how vital it is that consumers make their views about GMOs known to both supermarkets and MPs.
Further woe for Monsanto came with the news that Carlos Jolly, their European Head of Public Relations, was resigned from the post on Friday 11 December, apparently to spend more time with his family.
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