Thursday, March 27, 2003

GM crop trials: the PR offensive

The UK government has been conducting farm-scale trials on GM crops for three years. They came into existence as a way of putting-off the issue of approving GM varieties and were marked by secrecy and attacks by activists.

The trials are now over and the reports are being prepared. But the PR offensive is under way. New Scientist reports that environmental groups are rubbishing the trials as being inadequate to properly test the effects of the crops on biodiversity. For example, the variation of some species between fields with current crops is such that it would be difficult to assess if differences between GM and non-GM fields were due to the crops or natural variation.

But, in reality, these are political matters. The environmental groups are opposed to GM per se. That there is room to open up a PR offensive against the trials is a direct consequence of the fact that they were set up as a PR stunt in the first place.

Key GM crop experiment 'lacks statistical power', New Scientist, 26 March 2003


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