We’ve known since at least June that Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, compiled hit lists containing hundreds of names and other personal information about journalists, politicians and scientists, including their opinions about pesticides and genetic engineering.
But newly revealed court documents expose an even more calculated and sinister plan—a 130-page plan involving 11 staff members plus high-powered public relations firms—to “slime and slander” anyone who criticized their products or operations.
Among the targets of Monsanto’s hit list strategy is U.S. Right to Know (USRTK), a nonprofit investigative research group focused on the food industry, for which OCA provides substantial funding. In an interview with Democracy NOW!’s Amy Goodman, USRTK executive director, Gary Ruskin, said there’s still so much we don’t yet know about Monsanto’s strategy. The court documents raise more questions than answers, he said.
What we do know, is that Monsanto’s strategy involved recruiting, and sometimes paying, third-party “experts” to attack USRTK’s and others’ work.
OCA is no stranger to Monsanto’s slimy tactics. The company has funded the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH), a lofty name for what’s no more than a corporate-funded front group. The ACSH has accused OCA International Director Ronnie Cummins of everything from spreading “fake news” to colluding with Russian trolls.
Give us a break.
Read 'Monsanto's Hit List Exposed'
Make a tax-deductible donation to OCA’s Millions Against Monsanto campaign
It may be true that you can take the boy out of the country, but it’s apparently not so easy to get the CEO out of Silicon Valley.
In mid-June, Will Harris, owner of White Oak Pastures, publicly invited Pat Brown, CEO of Impossible Foods, to visit Harris’ ranch in Bluffton, Georgia. The invitation was prompted by a statement Harris got wind of, in the latest Impossible Foods Impact Report, which facetiously referred to regenerative grazing as the “clean coal” of meat.
The company has also claimed that grassfed beef “generates more GHGs than feedlot beef”—a claim that didn’t sit well with Harris, whose ranch in Bluffton, Georgia, stores “more carbon in the soil than our cows emit in a lifetime,” according this blog post on his website.
Harris told a reporter for Civil Eats that he was “stunned” by the “clean coal” analogy. “I think there were many mistruths in that attack,” he said.
Then he reiterated his invitation to Brown, through the reporter:
“Dr. Brown, please come see me. It’ll be an opportunity for both of us to adjust our worldviews.”
Harris followed up his public plea with a personal email to Brown. A company official responded by scheduling a phone call, that she canceled two days before. Brown also responded, with an apology—you can read more about the email exchange and the ongoing debate, "to eat or not to eat beef," here.
Meanwhile, please help us get Brown "down on the farm" by following the instructions below.
Read 'Dear Mr. Impossible Foods CEO: Please Visit This Regenerative Ranch'
TAKE ACTION: Download and print this invitation to Impossible Foods CEO Pat Brown. Then attach the invitation to this comment form. Or mail it to:
Mr. Pat Brown, CEO, Impossible Foods400 Saginaw DriveRedwood City, CA 94063
The GMO Impossible Burger is so packed with poisons, that if eating it makes you sick, you’ll never be able to figure out which ingredient to blame.
Mercola.com reports that “any or all of the following ingredients in the Impossible Burger could potentially be GMO and/or contaminated with glyphosate:
"… Soy Protein Concentrate … Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavors … Potato Protein, Methylcellulose (possibly from cotton), Yeast Extract, Cultured Dextrose, Food Starch Modified, Soy Leghemoglobin … Soy Protein Isolate, Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E) … Thiamine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Sodium Ascorbate (Vitamin C), Niacin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12."
Impossible Foods, the Silicon Valley-based maker of the Impossible Burger, admits that consumers could experience adverse reactions to its lab-grown burger.
But in its warning to consumers the company downplays the potential risks associated with the burger’s genetically engineered ingredients, claiming that, hey, people could be allergic to just about any of the burger’s ingredients.
In other words, don’t blame the GMO ingredients!
This GMO lab-grown burger has only one more regulatory hurdle to clear, before it comes, unlabeled, to a supermarket near you. Any chance the U.S. Food & Drug Administration will do the right thing?
TAKE ACTION BY SEPTEMBER 3: Tell the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to safety test the GMO Impossible Burger—before the burger is sold to consumers!
Monsanto Internal documents—130 pages of them—reveal how in 2013 (the year following the California ballot initiative to require labels on GMOs), the poison-maker hired Ketchum PR―the public relations firm for Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian natural gas giant Gazprom and many governments known for human rights abuses―to help the company “reboot” its image.
In a blog post published that same year, the CEO of another big PR firm, Edelman, said:
“We have some clients that pay us $100,000 or so per year, some clients that pay us more than $100,000 per week and many clients that pay us $100,000 or so per month."
Monsanto’s “reboot” campaign encompassed a massive effort to discredit scientists, journalists and anyone else critical of Monsanto and GMOs.
We can only imagine what a campaign like the one Monsanto hired Ketchum to run cost—and how much influence it bought.
But just imagine how much good all that money could do in the world, if it were put to better use?
Organizations like ours will never have the staff or financial resources to run a comparable counter-campaign to the ones run by companies like Monsanto.
But with your support, we’ll keep up the pressure on Monsanto, and the media, to tell the truth.
Make a tax-deductible donation to Organic Consumers Association, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit
Support Citizens Regeneration Lobby, OCA’s 501(c)(4) lobbying arm (not tax-deductible)
Click here for more ways to support our work
Is the National Organic Program (NOP) doing a good job of fulfilling its stated mission: developing and enforcing “uniform national standards for organically-produced agricultural products sold in the United States?”
That’s debatable. And so the question of organic standards enforcement was debated—last month, during the Northeast Organic Farmers Association (NOFA) conference in Amherst, Mass.
Johanna Mirenda, Organic Trade Association policy director, and Dave Chapman, farmer and Real Organic Project executive director, went head-to-head on what the NOP is doing right, and what it’s doing wrong.
Demand for organic food is trending up. In 2018, U.S. sales of organic food hit $47.9 billion, up 5.9 percent from 2017. That’s a good thing.
But as demand for organic grows, so grows the number of companies that want a piece of that pie—and are willing to flout organic rules to get it. That’s a problem for the “real” organic producers whose prices are undercut by the fraudsters. And it’s a problem for consumers, who get cheated.
As Chapman says:
“Consumers are being misled. Do we participate in the fraud? Or do we say what we know is the truth?”
OCA was founded out of the need to protect organic standards. We still believe it’s a cause worth fighting for.
Watch ‘Real Organic Project and Organic Trade Association Debate’
Americans are getting fatter. But we aren’t getting healthier.
We can expect that trend to continue, unless we fix our food. And we can’t fix our food unless we fix our soil, which means we stop saturating it with herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, synthetic chemical fertilizers and antibiotics.
Scientific American just published a great article this week linking the decline of human health to the decline in food nutrients caused by the decline in soil health. The authors pointed to a report by Eco Farming Daily, citing data going back to 1940, stating this:
“The level of every nutrient in almost every kind of food has fallen between 10 and 100 percent. An individual today would need to consume twice as much meat, three times as much fruit, and four to five times as many vegetables to obtain the same amount of minerals and trace elements available in those same foods in 1940.”
How do we fix our soil, food and health? We need a “microbiome renaissance,” the author said. And that begins with showing Mother Nature a little respect:
It is pure hubris to think we can manipulate nature into agricultural perfection with synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Instead, to adapt to and mitigate the intertwined ecological, human health and climate crises, we must respect the elegant complexity of nature.
Read ‘Broccoli Is Dying. Corn Is Toxic. Long Live Microbiomes!’
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