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BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 27 February 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:611
  1. Abi Berger, science editor
  1. BMJ

    See Editorialby Dixon and p581

    The genetically modified food fandango has been a lesson in confusion. According to the Guardian on 20February, over 1900 column inches had

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    been published that week on the subject, and many more followed. Within a single week the spectre of a food scare has become a full scale war, and the language used by the tabloid press simply served to heighten the tension. We have had “Frankenstein foods,” “terminator genes,” and “verminators.”Yet, as the Daily Telegraph commented (17February), “it is absurd, because the sense of deadly and immediate danger generated by the scare is completely unwarranted.” Amusingly, they went on: “it ought to be a statement of the obvious that Mr Blair and his Government do not wish to poison the population, and yet the tabloid suggestion is the opposite.”

    One reason why the issue of genetic modification took off, after the press conference given by 21scientists in London on 12February, was that several newspapers were already running campaigns against genetically …

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