Academic GMO shills exposed: Once-secret emails reveal gross collusion with Monsanto, academic fraud at the highest levels inside U.S. universities
U.S. Right to Know (USRTK), a non-profit organization dedicated to exposing the fraud and corruption surrounding the food industry, launched an investigation into the intimate and unethical relationship between the biotech industry and university faculty and staff, which is used to manipulate public opinion about GMOs and to coerce the government into passing legislation supportive of Big Ag’s patented seeds and pesticides.
The investigation, which is still ongoing, reveals how biotech industry giants Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta, Dow AgroSciences and others, buy academics employed by taxpayer-funded universities to push GMOs and lobby Congress to pass legislation favorable of their products, with one of the most high-profile examples including attempts to derail states’ rights to enact GMO-labeling laws.
The collusion between Big Food, its front groups and university staff has been exposed through thousands of emails and documents obtained through a USRTK Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, which was meticulously filed over a six-month period.
USRTK: Public deserves to know about flow of money and level of coordination between Big Ag and public university scientists
The FOIA request sought to obtain emails and documents from 43 public university faculty and staff to learn more about the biotech industry’s public relations strategies. Records were requested from scientists, economists, law professors, extension specialists and communicators, all of whom are employed by taxpayer-funded public institutions and steadily promote GMO agriculture under the “independent” research.
Currently, USRTK has received thousands of documents in nine of their requests; however, much more information is expected to be released as FOIA requests continue to be answered.
The documents received thus far expose how the biotech industry funds expenses for university faculty to travel the globe promoting and defending GMOs and their associated pesticides, highlighting the shift that scientists have made from being researchers to being actors in Big Ag PR campaigns.
Named the “Biofortified boys” by Alicia Maluafiti, executive director of Hawaii Crop Improvement Association (HCIA), a biotech front group, the academics were awarded thousands, and in some cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars in unrestricted grant money.
Dr. Kevin Folta, professor and chairman of the Horticultural Sciences Department at the University of Florida, Gainesville, is one of the biotech industry’s most cooperative “Biofortified boys.” Emails show that Folta was enlisted to travel to Hawaii and later to Pennsylvania to “testify to government bodies to oppose proposed mandatory genetically modified labeling measures.”
Folta has repeatedly denied ties to Monsanto or having accepted funds from them; however, newly released documents prove otherwise, exposing him as a bald-faced liar and attack dog for the biotech industry.
Sponsored and organized by the HCIA, which includes Monsanto, DuPont, Dow AgroSciences, Syngenta and BASF, Folta and others were recruited to meet with local business execs to lobby against Hawaii’s proposed GMO-labeling law.
HCIA’s Maluafiti writes:
So please know that you are part of our overall public education strategy and specifically – how do we use your valuable time wisely while you are here in Hawaii (besides hitting the beaches!) I’d love to hear your thoughts. Aloha!
A second email authored by Renee Kester, wife of Dow AgroSciences R&D Leader Kirby Kester, who is also president of the HCIA, thanks them for their support:
First off I would like to thank you for all of the support you have given us over here in Hawaii with regards to our recent legislative battles, it means a lot to all of us over here.
Monsanto asks academics to author articles promoting GMOs
In an effort to influence “thought leaders and influencers,” Monsanto reached out to Dr. Folta and other academics, asking them to author a series of pro-GMO policy briefs to be used for “outreach and engagement with […]