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[SANET-MG] Public relations in the guise of social research
Public relations in the guise of social research
"Journalists" at the Canadian University Calgary have for several years
provided public relations for Canadian plant biotechnology. The "forum"
below is a fine example of public relations in action.
The information provided the "public" participants appeared to be a form
of "pablum" provided by promoters of pharm crops.
For example, the examples of pharm crops provided the human subjects in
the experiment excluded the extensive field testing of Canola modified
with the anticoagulant hirudin which was undertaken by a university
associated Calgary company. Hirudin has the ability to kill as well as
cure and in spite of that it was being produced in Canola seed.Knowing
the sexual promiscuity of Canola it seems likely that hirudin gene stiil
pollutes the western Canada crop. That release cried out to be included
in the forum but was , of course , it was censored. That is the Canadian
The forum provided some support for producing vaccines in food crops.
From what I gathered the problem of oral tolerance was not provided for
the naive forum members. Oral tolerance is the problem associated with
repeated ingestion of a vaccine antigen. The vaccine is recognized as
self by the immune system allowing the disease organism to prosper. Such
complication should have been provided the experimental subjects of the
forum but there was no indication that had been done.
In general the forum should strengthen the global view that Canadian
crops should be consumed with great caution.
AgBioForum, 8(1): 26-32 2005
Edna F. Einsiedel and Jennifer Medlock
University of Calgary, Alberta
Plant molecular farming (PMF) is another phase in the ongoing
research and development of transgenic plants, offering possibilities
of producing therapeutic and industrial proteins. However,
this technology poses important social and policy
challenges. A public consultation was held in four regions in
Canada using a modified focus group approach. Respondents
received a background document on the technology prior to discussions.
Five specific applications were discussed to investigate
views on food versus nonfood crops, medical versus
industrial applications, and containment approaches. Public
assessments were on a case-by-case basis but were also
clearly based on balancing benefits and risks as well as considerations
of environmental impacts and regulatory oversight.
Key words: molecular farming, public consultation, plant-made
pharmaceuticals, policy and regulation, risk assessment,
A Public Consultation on Plant Molecular Farming
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