Secret e-mails reveal GMO industry wooing, bankrolling “independent” scientists
Looks like Monsanto should have hidden its emails on Hillary Clinton’s server!
For years the biotech giant has been trying to con us into believing that its genetically modified foods (GMOs) — and the toxic weedkiller sprayed on them — are as safe as mother’s milk.
They’ve even pointed to dozens of “independent” scientists who studied GMOs and decided there was nothing to worry about.
But it turns out some of those researchers weren’t so independent after all.
Thousands of just-released emails prove that biotech bigwigs like Monsanto have been secretly keeping top health researchers in their pocket for years. These companies have been working like puppet masters behind the scenes to control everything from the answers these scientists gave publicly to their testimony before government officials.
It’s a conspiracy you were never supposed to know about. And it was all to keep you from ever hearing the truth about the dangers of GMOs.
A bad smell“If you spend enough time with skunks, you start to smell like one.”
That’s what former Washington State Professor Charles Benbrook had to say about his colleagues who have gotten cash and trips from companies like Monsanto while supporting and promoting GMOs.
A public records request from U.S. Right to Know and the New York Timeshas uncovered emails proving that researchers we were told were independent in the GMO debate have been quietly working with Monsanto and GMO industry PR firms.
Why am I not surprised?
One of those professors is Dr. Kevin Folta, head of the horticultural sciences department at the University of Florida. Folta is pro-GMO and has claimed time and time again that “I have nothing to do with Monsanto.”
But these emails tell a different story. A vice president of Ketchum — a PR giant that represents Monsanto and other biotech players — told Folta that so-called independent scientists like him wear a “white hat” in the GMO debate, and it was important for them to get the word out.
It wasn’t long before Folta was having his expenses picked up for trips to Washington, D.C. and Hawaii to take part in what was called “biotechnology outreach.” In other words, he was dispatched to convince politicians — and consumers like us — that these Frankenfoods are safe.
And when he wasn’t traveling, he was on his keyboard, writing an opinion piece for a major newspaper that was actually arranged by Ketchum and answering questions for a website called GMO Answers.
That’s supposed to be a place where you can get information on GMOs from independent experts. But emails between Folta and Ketchum reveal that many of those so-called objective answers were being drafted by the firm’s copywriters.
That doesn’t sound too independent to me.
Of course, Folta wasn’t alone. For example, Monsanto also gave a grant to Dr. Bruce M. Chassy from the University of Illinois to help spread the word about the wonders of GMOs.
And the industry sure got its money’s worth. Emails show that Chassy worked with Monsanto on a campaign to keep the EPA from tightly regulating the toxic pesticides used on GMO crops.
An industry lobbyist even got Chassy in front of the agency so he could plead the case. You know, as an “independent” scientist.
Now, with all the you-know-what hitting the fan, some of these researchers have decided it’s better to go back to being independent again. The University of Florida says it’s going to donate Folta’s $25,000 Monsanto grant to a food pantry (I’m guessing GMOs are still on the menu).
But that’s only a drop in the bucket compared to the more than $1 million Monsanto gave to the university for 2013-14, putting it in the “gold donor” category.
This might all be corporate shenanigans as usual if we weren’t at such a pivotal moment in the history of GMOs. I’ve been updating you on a bill working its way through Congress known as the DARK Act (for Deny Americans the Right to Know) that would strip states of their right to label GMOs.
It passed the House earlier this summer — after some lobbying from Folta, of course.
Now with the Senate getting ready to consider the bill, let’s hope all this bad publicity convinces lots of these “independent” researchers to stay home. And let’s keep leaning on our Senators to make sure they’re listening to our voices on GMO labeling — instead of the scientists who are getting $1,000 handshakes from Monsanto.
“Food industry enlisted academics in G.M.O. lobbying war, emails show” Eric Lipton, September 5, 2015, The New York Times, nytimes.com
“‘Independent’ GMO expert busted for receiving $25,000 from Monsanto” Daniel Barker, September 8, 2015, Natural News, naturalnews.com