Daily Telegraph, 13 November 2009
Stand by for yet another attempt to persuade a resistant British public to consume genetically modified food. The Food Standards Agency - the same quango that constantly condemns the organic produce that people really do want - is about to organise, at ministers' request, a "dialogue project" to see how consumers “can be helped to make informed choices about the food they eat”.
Tomorrow, the agency will announce the members of a steering group for the dialogue, which it says will "include stakeholders”¦ with different views of GM". In fact, it seems that only two of the 11 to be named are known to oppose the technology.
It brings back memories of the last time the Government tried this tactic, six years ago. Again, it held a public "debate", whose purpose one senior official told me - was to "dispel the myths" put about by "extremists in environmental groups".
The exercise sought to overturn public opinion that was running at three-to-one against GM, in preparation for starting planting modified crops in Britain. But by the time it had finished, opposition among those who participated had soared to 90 per cent, with the uncommitted becoming increasingly hostile the more they learned about GM.
Many of those who took part ended up seeing the debate as "window dressing used to cover secret decisions to go ahead with GM crop development".
That could not possibly be what is happening this time. Could it?