1.Food agency 'promotes GM' - BBC, Today
2.Academic resigns from UK food watchdog over 'GM propaganda' - The Guardian
3.UK: Professor 'quits GM food body in protest over rigging' - Just-Food.com
NOTE: After the earlier resignation of Dr Helen Wallace, a leading UK academic has now resigned from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in protest at what he claims is a rigged assessment.
Professor Brian Wynne from Lancaster University was vice-chairman of a group set up by the FSA hold a "public dialogue" on genetically modified food.
EXTRACT: He said within a few months it became clear that the consultation was "rigged" to soften up public opinion ahead of government efforts to lift restrictions on the technology. (item 3)
TAKE ACTION: If in the UK, please contact your Member of Parliament: http://bit.ly/aNovYD
It's easy to find your political representatives using your post code at http://www.writetothem.com
Even if you're too busy to write a letter, please just forward the links to the two resignation letters to your MP (eg by e-mail) and ask them to ask the Ministers to explain what will be done about this scandalous waste of public money.
The link for Dr Wallace's resignation letter is http://www.genewatch.org/uploads/f03c6d66a9b354535738483c1c3d49e4/resignation.doc
(or http://bit.ly/8YFA92 )
The link for Professor Wynne's resignation letter is http://www.genewatch.org/uploads/f03c6d66a9b354535738483c1c3d49e4/Resignationletter31May10.doc
(or http://bit.ly/dftpI5 )
1.Food agency 'promotes GM' - BBC, Today
BBC Radio 4 Today Programme
Listen to Prof Brian Wynne being interviewed about his decision to resign (5 mins 3 seconds)
2.Academic resigns from UK food watchdog over 'GM propaganda'
John Vidal, environment editor
The Guardian, 2 June 2010
*Labour government's GBP500,000 public dialogue on GM food could be abandoned after second resignation
[image caption: The Food Standards Agency is to ask the coalition government if it should continue with the GM dialogue.]
A GBP500,000 public dialogue over GM food could be abandoned after a second member of the steering group overseeing it resigned, the government's independent food watchdog said today.
The Food Standards Agency, which had been commissioned by the Labour government to gauge the public mood on growing and eating the controversial foods, said that it would ask the coalition government if it should continue with the dialogue.
"There has been a major change in government," said Nathalie Golden, a spokeswoman for the FSA.
"It will need to be presented to ministers. It depends on the new government whether it goes ahead."
Professor Brian Wynne, the vice-chair of the 11-person steering group, today became the second member to resign in the past eight days.
Wynne, an academic specialist on public engagement with science, said in a letter to the group that the planned consultation was biased in favour of the technology and was little more than propaganda for the industry.
He accused the FSA of having adopted a "dogmatically entrenched" pro-GM position and said that the dialogue could become a "public mistrust generator".
He was also heavily critical of FSA chair, ex-Labour minister Lord Rooker, who has described the public's sceptical position on GM food and crops as "anti-science".
His resignation follows that of Dr Helen Wallace, director of the thinktank GeneWatch UK who resigned last week in protest at the FSA's links with the agri-chemical industry which has been lobbying strongly to allow GM foods to be used more widely.
She alleged that some of the contractors being considered to run the project were already working for a major biotechnology company in order to "position the company as a positive force".
"It has now become clear to me that the process that the FSA has in mind is nothing more than a PR exercise on behalf of the GM industry," she said.
"In my view, this would be a significant waste of GBP500,000 of taxpayers' money. A process that was barely credible has become a farce.
"Taxpayers' money should not be wasted on a PR exercise for the GM industry."
Pete Riley, director of GM Freeze, a coalition of environment groups opposed to GM foods, said: "The GM public dialogue is now in chaos.
"The coalition government needs to look very seriously at how the FSA is attempting to use the dialogue process to gather information on what the public thinks about GM so they can the use it to manipulate public opinion in a pro-GM direction.
"This would be a gross misuse of public funds, and ministers need to put a stop to it.
"The FSA is far too close to industry on this issue, which is a deep disappointment for an organisation that was set up as an independent regulator and food safety champion for the public just 10 years ago."
But Golden said there were are no plans to delay the dialogue because of the resignations.
"The steering group is now in the process of identifying an organisation which might carry out the dialogue," she said.
"Once the steering group is in a position to suggest a body to do this, it will make a recommendation to the FSA board.
"The board will then ask ministers, before contracts are signed, whether the GM dialogue should proceed.
"The agency is completely independent. It is not at all a front for industry. We will all be considering the implications of these resignations."
3.UK: Professor "quits GM food body in protest over rigging"
Just-Food, 2 June 2010
A leading professor has stepped down from his role in a UK government group set up to look at public opinion on GM food in protest over efforts to "rig" findings, according to reports.
Prof Brian Wynne was vice chairman of a group set up by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to gauge the public's thoughts on GM food.
However, Wynne has resigned from his role in protest at the use of taxpayers' money to promote "propaganda" in favour of genetically modified food, according to the Daily Telegraph.
It is understood Wynne thought the public consultation was being "rigged" in favour of the controversial technology and was "an arm of propaganda to try to push the opinion of the British public in the right direction".
"In that sense it is in line with so much public policy in Britain that assumes the public is anti-science," Wynne, a sociologist at Lancaster University, told the newspaper.
He said within a few months it became clear that the consultation was "rigged" to soften up public opinion ahead of government efforts to lift restrictions on the technology.
He subsequently resigned when it became clear that the consultation was biased in favour of GM and that the emphasis on science rather than corporate control of seeds meant that the concerns of the public would not be heard.
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