Subject: 9-Misc: Growers for Wheat Biotechnology - a new biotech PR group inthe U.S.
Date: Wed, 14 Jul 2004 23:08:25 +0200
Dear GENET-news readers,
the recent BIO 2004 conference finally laid the grounds for the new PR phase of the GE industry: GE crops with direct consumer benefits, be it for nutrition on as medicine. The new U.S. lobby group "Growers for Wheat Biotechnology" - with not-so-new members - now cites a study of the North Dakota State University which "sends an important signal that consumers are ready to accept the positive attributes biotechnology can bring to a safe and abundant food supply." It would have sent an even more positive signal if the researchers would have asked the food shoppers "about scientists using genetic modification methods to develop GE crops that fight cancer."
It is intersting to find out what the GWB group does not quote from the study:
*62,6% disagreed with "Scientists know what they are doing so only moderate regulations on GM are necessary"
*61,1 % agreed to "Companies involved in creating GM crops believe profits more important than safety"
*And 62,7% disagreed with "I am adequately informed about biotechnology"
- so what is the whole study about?
[additional comment] GENET/HM:
This internet domains [www.growersforwheatbiotechnology.org ] is registered by Morgan & Myers, an U.S. PR company. One of their clients is Monsanto: "While growers around the world look to Monsanto Company for innovative agricultural solutions, Monsanto's Global Industry Affairs group looks to Morgan & Myers for expertise in public acceptance and education issues. That's because while biotech crops can increase yield while reducing dependence on chemical use and soil erosion, getting the full benefit from these technologies depends on gaining general support for their use. Our strategy is to
identify the relevant target audiences, and then provide the facts they need to make informed choices." According to its web page (http://
www.morganmyers.com/po_col1.htm), Morgan & Myers wrote the famous "Butterflies and Bt Corn Brochure" for Monsanto which later was published as an USDA document (http://www.ars.usda.gov/sites/monarch/index.html)!
TITLE: N.D. Shoppers Open to Genetically-Modified Pasta
SOURCE: Growers for Wheat Biotechnology, USA
DATE: 9 Jul 2004
N.D. Shoppers Open to Genetically-Modified Pasta
Valley City, ND - Nearly 80 percent of respondents in a N.D. consumer survey would choose a hypothetical pasta genetically modified with added vitamins and minerals over regular pasta that didn't have this benefit. A majority would also select pasta genetically modified with better flavor, or with zinc to help prevent head colds, over pasta that didn't have these features.
"This is good news for farmers, food processors, and retailers," says Allan Skogen, a Valley City, N.D., wheat producer and chairman of Growers for Wheat Biotechnology (GWB), a group that advocates research, development and acceptance of biotechnology in wheat. "It sends an important signal that consumers are ready to accept the positive attributes biotechnology can bring to a safe and abundant food supply."
Results of the survey of just over 400 food shoppers taken last winter on their perceptions toward genetically-modified foods were released recently by North Dakota State University. Cheryl Wachenheim and William Lesch of NDSU are authors of the survey report, which can be found in its entirety on the Internet at
The survey indicated a greater willingness of N.D. consumers to buy GM grain-based foods over GM meat products. The survey found that 72 percent of respondents would approve of grain genetically modified for better nutrition to help feed poor countries. Over 60 percent would also favor GM foods to help diabetics, and wheat with vitamin A to help prevent blindness. Nearly half agreed that "unjustified fears have seriously blocked development of GM foods."
Respondents viewed the U.S. Department of Agriculture, university scientists, and farmers as more trusted information sources for GM foods, over friends and family, public interest groups, food manufacturers, clergy, and grocery stores.
"A primary motivation for starting Growers for Wheat Biotechnology was because we felt as growers, we could serve as a credible source of information to consumers about the benefits of biotechnology for our food supply," says Bruce Freitag, Scranton, N.D. wheat producer and member of the GWB board. "This survey bears that out."
The survey indicated considerable misattribution about the availability of GM foods. For example, only 6 percent of respondents thought that soy products contain GM ingredients, when in fact GM soybeans will comprise about 85 percent of all soybean acres in the U.S. this year, according to USDA.
"Most people have little understanding what biotechnology means. The terminology doesn't help. The concept of food being 'genetically-modified' sounds technical and foreign. But biotechnology is just a way of improving or enhancing food and medicine that's been used for decades in many products," says Freitag. He points out that while no GM wheat varieties are now commercially available, most wheat foods contain biotech ingredients, such as yeast, oils, and sweeteners.
In addition to Skogen and Freitag, other producer-directors of GWB include Mike Waters, Froid, Mont.; Kim Murray, Froid, Mont.; Doyle Lentz, Rolla, N.D.; Terry Wanzek, Jamestown, N.D.; Jeff Topp, Grace City, N.D.; Paul Aasness, Fergus Falls, Minn.; and Tom Anderson, Barnesville, Minn.
The group's web site:
A new biotech PR group in the U.S. (20/7/2004)