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April 2, 2000




- http://www.agbioworld.org, http://agbioview.listbot.com

CONTACT: Dan Eramian, BIO, 202/847-0244

Washington – April 3, 2000 – A multi-year, industry-led public
information program begins today to share information about
agricultural biotechnology with people in the United States and
Canada. The program, sponsored by the Council for Biotechnology
Information, will include a Web site, toll-free consumer number,
information materials, and television and print advertising.

The program also includes plans to have safety data for commercial
products available through the Web site; sponsor a separate,
university-managed Web site which would serve as an on-going
repository for safety and environmental data from the companies and
other sources; and develop white papers on a variety of food safety
and environmental issues.

The Council for Biotechnology Information is a coalition of seven
leading companies with an interest in biotechnology, plus the industry
trade association -BIO. The Council’s goal is to make it easier for
people to get information about biotechnology.

The program is intended to help people in the U.S. and Canada answer
questions they may have and provide them with accurate information
from a variety of industry, academic, scientific, government and third
party sources.

The founding members of the Council are: Aventis CropScience, BASF,
Dow Chemical, DuPont, Monsanto, Novartis, Zeneca Ag Products and BIO.
Associated with the Council are a range of other organizations and
trade and industry groups that support the use of the technology and
believe in its current and future benefits.

"Clearly, there is a need for those beyond the research, nutrition and
public health communities to have a better understanding of the whole
spectrum of benefits to be gained from biotechnology. We have the
ability to offer products that enable people to improve their lives,
and must take every opportunity to ensure that the possibilities of
biotechnology are realized," said Carl B. Feldbaum, BIO president. "We
can accomplish this only by increasing awareness and fostering an open
conversation with people." "Food biotechnology has enormous potential
for developing more nutritious foods and addressing health and hunger
problems in our fast-growing world," said Dr. Louis Sullivan,
president of Morehouse School of Medicine and former Secretary of
Health and Human Services. "It is important to encourage responsible
development of these technologies and inform the public of them." Dr.
Sullivan serves as a Distinguished Advisor to the Council.

Key elements of the program include:

A Web site: www.whybiotech.com features facts and information about
biotechnology, including data from a variety of sources, a discussion
of benefits, links to other academic, government and scientific
organization sites, and third-party opinions and referrals.

A focus on the science of biotechnology, including making safety
data on commercial products available through the Web site;

A toll-free consumer number: People can call the Council at
800/980-8660 for a free copy of the Council’s brochure, "Good Ideas
Are Growing."

Television and print advertising: The advertising element of the
effort is designed to raise awareness about biotechnology, and direct
people to sources for more information, starting with the Council’s
Web site and toll-free telephone number. The ads feature real people
who have benefited from biotechnology in medical and agricultural

Outreach to a broad cross section of organizations and individuals
that have an interest in biotechnology. In addition, the Council will
work with organizations that are already providing people with
science-based information about biotechnology.

"The developing world could certainly use an increase in the food
supply and the use of biotech crops is one way to make it happen,"
said Professor Jennifer A. Thomson, at the University of Cape Town.
Professor Thomson serves as a Distinguished Advisor to the Council.
The Council anticipates this integrated program to be a three- to
five-year effort. Currently, about $50 million has been committed.

Aventis CropScience: Rick Rountree, 919-549-2310 BASF: Greg Theis,
202/682-9462 Dow: Ted McKinney, 317/337-4792 DuPont: Susan Gaffney,
302-774-2698 Monsanto: Jeffrey A. Bergau, 312-840-5457 Novartis: Karen
Gallivan, 612-593-7343 Zeneca Ag: Ed Ready, 302-886-1184 For Canada:
800-265-9435: Art Stirlin