For the past 5-8 years, the use of biotechnology in agriculture has become one of the most highly controversial topics in the world. Countless organizations like Greenpeace and PSRAST (Physicians and Scientists for the Responsible Application of Science and Technology) have concentrated their efforts on increasing public awareness and hopefully thwarting such scientific progress. The fact that so many organizations have stepped up their anti-genetic engineering campaigns is a testament to how important an issue biotechnology has become in recent years. Concerning the case study found in Business, Government, and Society, there are a number of concerns surrounding this issue. Three of the most significant core issues involving biotechnology are consumer health and safety, future protection of earth's natural environment, and how the government (particularly in the United States) has stepped in and begun to play a defining role in the genetic modification of agriculture. .
It can be assumed that if the genetic engineering of agricultural had been a phenomenon of say, the mid 19th century, the relationship between food consumers and corporations would be much different. Business then took on a much more "me first" attitude toward their customers, with profit as the undisputed measure of success. However, the business-society rapport has changed dramatically since then. This is no where more apparent than in Greenpeace's actions over the last six years in regard to agricultural biotechnology. The way in which this environmental organization has changed public opinion, and in effect changed corporate practices, goes to show how primary and secondary stakeholders have come to balance business relationships through reciprocal power. For example, in 2001 Greenpeace was able to effectively convince Trader Joe's supermarket customers that genetically modified foods were unsafe for consumption and environmentally hazardous.