In an effort to address the mounting opposition to genetically modified foods, several biotech companies including Monsanto, DuPont, Dow AgroSciences, and Syngenta launched a new website on July 29, 2013 called GMO Answers. The site hosts a forum to address concerns about GMOs, and to make the companies who produce and promote them seem more transparent, more familial, and more accountable.
In other words, the biotech giants urgently need a rebuttal system in place that can match the lightning speed of the Internet — and the growing dissent across the globe.
According to a national New York Times poll, of 1,052 adults, 93 percent want GMO ingredients to be identified and 75 percent worry about GMOs’ effect on our health. With the retraction of Monsanto and GMOs in the European Union, the company will now only pursue markets with broad support for biotech crops. By “opening up” they hope to gain more American support.
But ongoing fears about biotech crops are unabated. In fact they spread like wildfire when rogue experimental wheat from Monsanto, for example, turns up in a field in Oregon after having been supposedly contained in Colorado.
What are they doing? Where are they doing it? And how will it impact us? Will GMOanswers answer these critical questions?
Social media helped spawn anti-GMO rallies worldwide with the March Against Monsanto, twice in 2013, on May 25 and October 12, once in 2014 and one other march in 2015, reaching up to 400 cities. Occupy Monsanto is now planning their next big rally on May 20. Huge protests in Europe helped solidify the ban on GMOs, adding more countries to a growing list that includes Germany, Ireland, Austria, Hungary, Greece, Bulgaria, and Luxembourg. And by 2018, Whole Foods will require suppliers to label products containing any genetically modified organisms.
While the website seeks to be regarded as a genuine effort to educate the public about the processes and benefits of producing, marketing, and distributing genetically modified foods, its backers have the burden of having to prove that their latest offering is purely motivated by health concerns as opposed to being highly tainted by profit motives. And they have to do so without fessing up to these five facts.
Monsanto News Fact #1
When the Italian Minister of Agriculture announced that she wants to ban GMOs, reports from the agricultural organization Coldiretti confirmed that nearly 76 percent of Italians support the decision. In fact, in recent years several countries banned or renewed their bans on GMOs — Switzerland, Kenya, France, Peru, and Russia.
Monsanto News Fact #2
GM kills or makes you sick: Syngenta was criminally charged when GM corn killed livestock in Germany; the American Academy of Environmental Medicine warns against consuming GM foods, citing numerous studies; GM soy is linked to sterility in hamsters; 130 scientists, scholars, and activists signed an open letter in support of the controversial French study on lab rats that links GMOs to cancerous tumors.
Monsanto News Fact #3
There’s a revolving door of high-ranking figures who run, advise or work for the FDA, EPA, and USDA after doing a stint at Monsanto, compromising oversight and sowing the seeds for a conflict of interest.
Monsanto News Fact #4
Michael R. Taylor, the former Deputy Commissioner for Foods at the FDA, held his position for over six years– finlly stepping down in 2016. Prior to his post he worked as an attorney to establish food and drug law practices for Monsanto where he later became the company’s Vice President for Public Policy.
Monsanto News Fact #5
Roundup, Monsanto’s #1 herbicide, has grown like a weed. According to Bloomberg the forecast for Monsanto has been stellar: “Gross profit from crop chemicals such as Roundup jumped 73 percent to $371 million as sales rose 37 percent.”
Why are products containing GMO plants not clearly labeled in the grocery store?
Excerpted Response on GMOanswers.com:
The short answer is that the FDA does not require a label for GMO foods.
In order to appreciate – if such a thing is possible – the scientific position of the biotech giants, we need deep penetration into their back door. While an open discourse about the alarming practices big agriculture uses to stock grocery shelves might include 24/7 access to Monsanto’s scientific experts, we need more access to critical information. As long as the discussion is divorced from their business strategies, their fiscal reports, their lobbying, their government relationships, and their corporate agenda, GMOanswers won’t answer much.