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for a responsible, fair & sustainable food system

We’ve Been Framed!

A GM Freeze guide to communicating your concerns about GM in food and farming more effectively

Genetic modification (GM) has been given a facelift. Vested interests around the world are lobbying to let loose highly experimental GM technology in our food and on our farms. Language has been a key tool in making newer GM techniques seem more acceptable, so it also needs to be part of our response.

With generous support from the Network for Social Change and in collaboration with a range of stakeholders, GM Freeze undertook a strategic analysis of how our perceptions of GM are shaped and what we can do to counter the bias embedded in the language we receive and use. Welcome to the We’ve Been Framed project.


“All communications are “framed” by the associations that come into our minds when we see, hear or experience something. By choosing one word or image over another we can influence how people think, feel and relate to GM in food and farming. Careful framing can change people’s thinking and the questions they ask.”

Former GM Freeze Director Liz O’Neill. 

Ralph Underhill from Framing Matters explains framing very well in this video.

Credits and collaborations

These webpages, the printer-friendly versions and the images you can download were all created as part of GM Freeze’s We’ve Been Framed project. The project was generously funded by the Network for Social Change, developed with input from the Public Interest Research Centre and delivered in collaboration with Framing Matters.

The We’ve Been Framed project benefited from the input of committed, enthusiastic and very creative individuals from a range of organisations including Beyond GM, EcoNexus, Food Matters, Garden Organic, GM Watch, Organic Farmers & Growers and the Soil Association. Thanks to all our collaborators.

This messaging guide is – and will always remain – a work in progress. We will update our recommendations as the external context develops and in response to feedback and our own experience. If you would like to make a comment or suggestion, please do so by emailing info[at] .

We’ve Been Framed GM messaging guide © 2024 by GM Freeze is licensed under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International. The resources are based on material and workshops run by Framing Matters.

The animal icons on some of these pages are used by GM Freeze, under license from Flaticon. They are not ours to share so please do not copy or re-use them.
The graphics used for the Top 5 Tips were commissioned by GM Freeze: contact us if you would like a free copy to use in your own communications.