Wikileaks on GMO strategy in Poland

The veto of the Polish president on the controversial Seed Act legalizing GM crops in Poland (we reported earlier) will probably be voted on in the Sejm at the meeting on 29 to 31 August 2011.

At Wikileaks, a cable on the pro GMO strategy for Poland was now published, which is seen as very worrying. Senior Advisor for Agricultural Biotechnology Madelyn Spirnak visited Warsaw in November 2005 to discuss the USG position on genetically modified organisms with GOP officials, members of the academic community, and the media.  While the current GOP and much of Polish society express serious concerns about transgenic plants, these attitudes appear to reflect the perceived European view on the subject, and are not based on negative experience or scientific data, the cable reveals.

Spirnak was encouraged by some ministerial employees’ and professors’ positive views of genetic engineering, though this was tempered by the message that much work would be needed to reverse mainstream negative opinion. One conclusion in particular was very clear: The GMO issue is currently driven by public opinion, and political and social tactics are necessary to win over decision makers and the public, as to be read at the cable at Wikileaks.

All of the scientists present at the meeting lamented the fact that several years ago Polish society accepted the idea of GMO’s, but that now 70 % of the Polish public rejected them as potential sources of food and for use in agriculture. The scientists expect no change in this attitude in the near future. In their opinion, GMO advocates must focus on the potential benefits to consumers,not to producers, in swaying public opinion. More information is available at Wikileaks.

Text: Organic Market Info

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