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"......Shortly after joining the FSA, Krebs also aligned himself with the Oxford-based SIRC, Social Issues Research Centre, which has set itself up as an arbiter of what is good and bad in the media's reporting of health and science stories. Krebs, the SIRC, the Royal Institution, the Royal Society and others developed a set of 'Guidelines on Science and Health Communication'. Krebs' involvement was particularly controversial as the SIRC, as well as maintaining a pro-GM position, gets part of its funding from large food companies ( eg Bestfoods, the giant ($8b) US food group later taken over by Unilever) as well as front organizations for the drinks and pharmaceutical industries. 'How seriously', asked the British Medical Journal of the SIRC's intiative, 'should journalists take an attack from an organization that is so closely linked to the drinks industry?' SIRC is also supported by its 'sister organisation, MCM Research Ltd' which is a commercial venture catering for a similar range of corporate clients.

When the science correspondent for Channel 4 News contacted Sir John to query the appropriacy of his involvement with an organisation with such links, Sir John denied any knowledge of the SIRC's links but refused to make any comment to camera. The SIRC's director stated that Sir John was aware of the organisation's funding background.

Sir John is also on the Science Advisory Panel of the Science Media Centre (SMC), an 'independent organisation', whose funders include BP Conoco, DuPont, Tesco, and Astra Zeneca, amongst others. The scientists whose views are promoted by the SMC are almost invariably pro-GM. It has also been accused of 'orchestrating a secret campaign aimed at discrediting' a TV drama highlighting the dangers of GM.

During the UK's Public Debate on GM in 2003, Sir John's role again proved controversial. Attack on food safety chief for GM crop "bias" ran a headline in The Daily Telgraph, reporting that the chairman of the Food Standards Agency had been accused of 'manipulating the Government's public debate on genetically modified foods and failing to be objective in his role as independent scientific adviser on GM crops.' Nine organisations, including the National Federation of Women's Institutes and Unison, the UK's biggest trade union, had written to Sir John, accusing him of bias and of misrepresenting the views of the public. In the letter they said, 'There is a strong consensus amongst consumer and environment organisations that the published views and statements of the FSA and its Chair are indistinguishable from those of the pro-GM lobby and do not properly represent public health and consumer interests.'



































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