The Pulse of Natural Health Newsletter

Stay informed about what is hot in Washington and the states about natural health

Whom Do You Trust? Mom Bloggers? Scientists?

9

Unfortunately, the information you get from either group may be paid for by Monsanto. Action Alert!

Major news outlets reported this week that emails released through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests prove for certain what many of us already knew: Monsanto has enlisted “independent” scientists to deliver their messaging for them, in an effort to overcome the public’s mistrust of GMO propaganda.

This follows reports from last year that Monsanto was similarly trying to recruit “mommy” bloggers to disseminate their GMO messaging.

Last August, Monsanto paid mom bloggers $150 each to attend a three-hour, invitation-only brunch at the company’s research and farm facility in Northern California. Attendees were offered a tour of the facility, along with commentary from two Midwestern moms with family farm backgrounds who rhapsodized about Monsanto’s work to feed the planet.

This wasn’t the first event of its kind. Monsanto held another brunch following a blogger conference in San Jose earlier last year. Monsanto has also funded a film series called A Seat at the Table, which includes episodes with titles like “Distribution: Redefining the Road from Farm to Fork” and “Nutrition: Fortifying Foods for a Modern World.”

The purpose of these events seems crystal clear to us: wine and dine the bloggers, tell them fairy tales about GMOs, and then watch them parrot biotech’s propaganda to their audiences.

The recent email releases show how Monsanto and other biotech companies are working even more diffusely to shape public opinion behind the scenes—this time by buying scientists.

The most egregious case concerns Dr. Kevin Folta, chair of the horticultural sciences department at the University of Florida. The New York Times describes Dr. Folta as “among the most aggressive and prolific biotech proponents,” yet he apparently only publicly acknowledged his ties to Monsanto after the emails were released.

In fact, according to US Right to Know—the group that filed the initial FOIA requests—before the emails were released, Dr. Folta repeatedly denied having any ties to Monsanto! A cursory look at the evidence shows just how deep Dr. Folta’s involvement with Monsanto is:

  • Folta received a $25,000 unrestricted grant from Monsanto in 2014. In an email to a Monsanto executive, Dr. Folta wrote, “I am grateful for this opportunity and promise a solid return on the investment.”
  • In another email, Dr. Folta told a Monsanto executive that he is “glad to sign on to whatever you like, or write whatever you like,” during a discussion of which propaganda strategy would be most effective.
  • When Monsanto’s PR firm created a website called “GMO Answers,” where scientists responded to supposed myths about GMOs, Dr. Folta was given pre-drafted responses by Monsanto’s PR reps, and on several occasions used these answers nearly word for word.

These revelations wouldn’t be so troubling if those who are seeking to quash labeling efforts weren’t so insistent that the science proving the safety of GMOs is “settled.” Good science is never settled; it is always open to new evidence. But in this case, what is being called “science” appears to be propaganda bought and paid for by industry.

Unfortunately, these aren’t the only disingenuous efforts to undermine the public’s right to know what is in their food by labeling GMOs.

This past May we reported on what seemed like a coordinated media attack against Chipotle after the company announced it would be using exclusively non-GMO ingredients in its food.

A new negative ad campaign shows that Chipotle’s success, despite the media onslaught, is continuing to worry the biotech and Big Food industries. The ad campaign, called “Chubby Chipotle,” claims that Chipotle’s advertising is a hypocritical means of selling high-calorie burritos.

A group called the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) is claiming responsibility for the smear campaign. We’ve written about this group before—a misleadingly named organization run by a lobbyist for Big Food. By branding itself as a libertarian organization, it hopes to curry favor with consumers, but it appears to be little more than an industry front group. In the past, they have received funding from Monsanto, Cargill, Wendy’s, White Castle, Tyson Foods, and other food conglomerates. The CCF has also run campaigns downplaying the need for GMO labeling.

What the biotech and Big Food industries are trying to do with these efforts is create an environment in which scientists, doctors, and restaurant owners are afraid to speak out on GMOs. And with bottomless war chests available to prosecute these campaigns, we shouldn’t expect them to go away.

As Congress comes back into session, the House-passed DARK Act, which would prevent states from passing mandatory GMO labeling bills, could be considered any day in the Senate. Another possibility, as we’ve reported previously, is a separate Senate version of a voluntary labeling bill, which would also supersede state labeling efforts, likely to come from the office of Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND). We must put a stop to both efforts.

Action Alert! Write to your senators and urge them to vote NO on any voluntary GMO labeling bill that keeps consumers in the dark about what’s in the food we eat, whether it is Rep. Pompeo’s DARK Act or a future bill from Sen. Hoeven’s office. Please send your message immediately.

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  • elizabetta

    Consumers are right to be skeptical of supposed experts such as Dr Folta. The bad thing is that this sort of thing is becoming commonplace and is causing consumers to lose confidence in science in general. We are inundated with lies from industry front groups such as Americans for Prosperity, Heartland, Cato Institute and a myriad of other right wing propaganda machines. It’s imperative that consumers become more sophisticated and better able to differentiate between industry mouthpieces and real scientists, because it’s important that we understand and consult real science. Without real science, we are in a void of myths, hearsay, unsubstantiated opinions and anecdotal nonsense. It’s important to see if the supposed expert is currently publishing papers in peer reviewed scientific journals. If not, then their credibility is on thin ice. Also see if they are associated with Heartland, Americans for Prosperity, or other right wing groups, as they are certainly on the take if they are associated with any of these groups. Also, look at the tone and substance of their writings and discussions. For instance, a real climate scientist would talk or write about how much ice has melted in the Arctic according to his most recent measurements, or the impact climate change is having on farming practices in the midwest. They would NOT be writing about how climate change is a hoax perpetrated by money hungry scientists. Real scientists discuss the details and facts related to their own specific studies, and generally do not opine on the larger political issues associated with that field of study.

  • john

    This is like the science is settled with global warming and left leaning institutes and Al Gore. The fudging of the data on actual temperatures is like Monsanto buying scientists

  • MendoGal

    Vandana Shiva honored our little town of Willits in northern California by coming here and speaking. The gracious lady is not left or right wing; she is a non-partisan champion of Truth to Power. The left/right divide is a ploy by the globalist cabal to control us all by keeping us in our respective cubbyholes. Corporations don’t care which party is in the White House or in control of Congress. The career politicians and revolving door appointees are all whoring for them so they have nothing to worry about… except the teeming masses who are gradually awakening in greater numbers!

    “Rise like Lions after slumber In unvanquishable number— Shake your chains to earth like dew Which in sleep had fallen on you— Ye are many—they are few.” — Percy Bysshe Shelley, from “The Mask of Anarchy”

  • BChristine

    Another sad and infuriating issue with this is that the majority of consumers are either totally in the dark about GMOs, Monsanto, etc. altogether, or they hear bits and pieces from these front groups and come to the conclusion that there is nothing to worry about and “all is well”. My oldest brother is a good example: he’s an intelligent, successful PhD and is not concerned about our food supply at all. I try to inform him (and a lot of people for that matter) about such things, but I’m the one with no college degree …. what do I know? People seem to have a disconnect between the food they put in their bodies and the cumulative consequences.
    … And then these groups and individuals attack people like FoodBabe/Vani Hari for trying to bring an honest light to food ingredients and companies. MonSATAN is pure evil.

    • Show him these links:
      If he still refuses to come to terms with it, it is because he is apart of the system and would rather make money than make the world better (sorry, some people are just this way).

      • BChristine

        I don’t have a smartphone ….. can you send those via a webpage or different format? Thanks Reality of Truth –

        • Karen

          For irrefutable confirmation that the “ACS is corrupt” – just read the afterword of this article by googling “A Mammogram Letter The British Medical Journal Censored”

  • hankbob99

    The American Dental Association pays out $millions to promote putting toxic industrial waste sodium fluoride into our drinking water…it only stands to reason that they would pay faux bloggers to perpetuate the myth that fluoride prevents tooth decay while they make $millions every year treating dental fluorosis. Follow the money folks…follow the money.

    • Yep, nothing but a big monopoly.
      truthwiki . o r g /usda-and-monsanto-biotech-industry-collusion