Biotech Spinmasters Propose Name Changes to Counteract Awful PR

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News Release

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, June 17, 2015
For More Informtion Contact: Gary Ruskin (415) 944-7350

Biotech Spinmasters Propose Name Changes to Counteract Awful PR

Following in the footsteps of Monsanto’s proposed name change, today the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) announced that it is renaming itself the Biotechnology Innovation Organization. BIO is the principal trade association for the biotechnology industry.

Documents released by Syngenta on June 8 include a letter from Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant to Syngenta, suggesting as a part of a Monsanto-Syngenta corporate merger that, “We would also propose a new name for the combined company to reflect its unique global nature.”

“These name changes are a sign of PR despair,” said Gary Ruskin, co-director of the consumer group U.S. Right to Know. “Monsanto’s name is radioactive, and the Biotechnology Industry Organization’s name isn’t much better.”

“Monsanto and the some parts of the biotech industry face consumer distrust and a political backlash,” Ruskin said. “That backlash is for environmental and health reasons, and it is foolish to think that name changes will bail out their bad PR.”

In a 2014 Harris Poll gauging the reputations of major corporations, Monsanto’s “reputation quotient” ranked 58 out of 60 companies. In other words, it was the third most hated company measured.

BIO has been a key industry advocate for genetically engineered foods, and against mandatory labeling of them. According to a 2013 New York Times poll, 93% of Americans support labeling of genetically engineered food.

U.S. Right to Know is a new nonprofit food organization that investigates and reports on what food companies don’t want us to know. In January, U.S. Right to Know released a report, titled Seedy Business, on the agrichemical and food industries’ PR campaign to defend GMOs. For more information about U.S. Right to Know, please see our website at usrtk.org.

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