THIS WEEK’S BIG QUESTION: Could the PR for genetically modified (GM) food have been handled better? - Last week Greenpeace leaked a Monsanto report criticising the UK introduction of GM food

BEVERLEY KAYE - THE ROWLAND COMPANY

BEVERLEY KAYE - THE ROWLAND COMPANY



’The fundamental problem with the introduction of these foods into the

UK and Europe was that the communications strategy was designed and made

in the US. The companies concerned failed to recognise that the

political and commercial clout which allowed them to generate acceptance

of these products back home would never cut the mustard in Europe, where

a far more sophisticated approach is required. They have been playing

catch-up ever since.’



PETER MELCHETT - GREENPEACE



’Monsanto’s own internal documents, leaked to Greenpeace, reveal a

collapse of public support for GM foods. Even a pounds 1 million

advertising campaign failed to change this dismal picture. Monsanto’s

approach, of forcing this food on all of us by converting what they call

the ’upper socio-economic elite’, is disgusting.’



EVIE SOAMES - CHARLES BARKER BSMG



’I’m not sure that it could have been handled better. Gene manipulation

is a difficult concept to explain without raising the spectre of

’Frankenstein’ foods. Genetically modified tomato paste out-sells

conventional varieties and there is no discernible resistance to

products containing GM soya and maize.



CHARLENE BARGERON - GREENLINES HEALTHCARE COMMUNICATIONS



’Successfully introducing a new product requires market understanding

and honest pre-launch preparation of your influencers before your

purchasers. GM tomato paste was introduced successfully with full

labelling and consumer leaflets - consumers had choice. Americans have

accepted slipping GM soya into world supplies. But they got it wrong in

the UK. Their lack of appreciation of post-BSE consumer cynicism, and a

cavalier approach to safety and environmental fears has failed

everyone.’



SHEILA MCKECHNIE - CONSUMERS’ ASSOCIATION



’There should have been greater public debate over GM foods. Monsanto’s

initial advertising campaign was misleading. Monsanto’s report found

holes in its campaign and confirms the public’s lack of faith in the

current system of food regulation following the BSE crisis. The

introduction of GM food has only served to re-enforce these concerns.’



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