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The research reported here attempts to understand as clearly as possible the part played by the mass media in the Great GM Food Debate. It does not adjudicate on the “rights” and “wrongs” of the issues raised in the debate but rather, seeks to characterise and (so far as is practicably possible) to explain the principal features of the debate itself. Following a brief consideration of materials and methods, it examines some general

considerations concerning the inter-relationships between science and the media, particularly in the context of public policy-making; describes the principal features of the Great GM Food Debate; and continues by analysing these features quantitatively and qualitatively. Finally, it offers an interpretation of the debate in terms of the wider scientific, economic, social and political context in which it took place. In a separate conclusion, we offer some (necessarily tentative) thoughts concerning the practical lessons that may be learned from the Great GM Food Debate by those who are interested in improving the relationship between science and society in Europe today.

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