GeneWatch PR: GeneWatch Calls for Monsanto to Apologise and to Sack their Spin Doctors

For Immediate Release - Sunday February 28, 1999

GeneWatch response to the ASA's draft recommendation on complaints about Monsanto's advertisements on genetically modified foods.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) draft report on Monsanto’s advertisements about genetically modified (GM) foods and crops recommends that five complaints about the series of advertisements be upheld (1). The ASA has concluded that adverts run between June and September 1998 misled people because:

  • Monsanto claimed that GM potatoes and tomatoes had been given safety approval in Europe when they had not (separate complaints about each crop to be upheld);
  • Monsanto were wrong to state that GM crops would result in food being grown in a more environmentally sustainable way as this was not proven;
  • Monsanto confused people into thinking that they were prepared to sacrifice sales of their herbicide Roundup to reduce pesticide use when they are not;
  • Monsanto had not been testing the safety of GM food for 20 years as they claimed.

"It is clear that Monsanto are willing to make misleading claims to promote their products. Two weeks ago they were found guilty of breaking the law when they failed to follow the conditions laid down for their experimental tests with GM oilseed rape. Now an independent assessment has shown that their advertisements were untrue and misleading," said Dr Sue Mayer, GeneWatch’s Director.

GeneWatch was one of the groups who complained to the ASA (2) and whose complaints will be upheld.

"The advertisements were a disgrace. Although Monsanto claimed they were promoting a public debate, they used the ads to mislead and confuse. It has become impossible to trust Monsanto. Their PR spin doctors should be sacked and Monsanto should apologise to the British public," added Sue Mayer.

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Notes to Editors:

  1. The complaints were divided into thirteen issues by the ASA, five of which were upheld.
  2. A total of 81 groups and individuals complained to the ASA.


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