Public debate or PR stunt?

The UK government is under attack from scientific advisers over its policy on GM foods.

Pat Hagan(phagan@btinternet.com)
Nov 14, 2002

A group of eleven scientific advisers charged with helping the UK set up a public debate on the future of GM foods has launched a scathing attack on the government's motives.

It warns the entire exercise is in danger of being seen as a huge public relations exercise unless ministers make radical changes to the funding, formula and timetable for the debate.

In a damning 19-page document setting out their concerns, the advisers claim the £250,000 set aside for the project is "derisory" and will not cover the cost of a proper public debate that will have a real impact on government decisions.

The advisers also warn the whole process is not being driven by what the public really think about GM foods. Instead, it's a "top-down steering process," one that betrays "deeply embedded but flawed institutional beliefs about the public and science."

As for the timetable for the debate,...

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