Monsanto has been in the news quite a bit lately, and aside from its pending mega merger with Bayer most of it is not exactly good news for the company.
Recently a scandal unfolded involving Monsanto and a former EPA official over leaked emails showing a collaborative effort to “kill” further research on glyphosate, the active ingredient and potential cancer causer in the company’s flagship weedkiller Roundup.
Now, Monsanto is taking even more heat over its alleged paying “Internet trolls” to combat negative comments about its business and products, while also citing alleged “ghost-written” and highly biased, or even pseudo-scientific, reports in order to defend its image from online commenters.
Documents Released Despite Monsanto’s Objections
According to this report from the website RT.com, court documents gathered by the watchdog organization U.S. Right to Know allege that Monsanto is targeting all forms of dissent online under a program called ‘Let Nothing Go,’ which targets everything ranging from Facebook comments to news articles and more in hopes of changing the true narrative about its products.
A series of third parties with no connection to the industry were allegedly employed to address all forms of Internet comments and discussions with comments in support of GMOs, Roundup, and other Monsanto related interests while also downplaying the risks, the plaintiffs allege.
The documents have surfaced during pre-trials on 50 lawsuits against the company which were pending in San Francisco’s U.S. District Court. It’s being alleged by the plaintiffs that exposure to Roundup caused them or relatives to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma, while the potential risks were concealed by Monsanto all along, the RT article said.
Monsanto has been known to spend huge sums of money in order to protect the image of its products and push their own narrative about GMOs and Roundup. The plaintiffs allege that Monsanto “quietly funnels money to ‘think tanks’ like the ”Genetic Literacy Project’ and the ‘American Council on Science and Health,’ which allegedly work to protect Monsanto’s image and shame independent scientists.
The company has also donated over $24 million to prevent food products containing its GMOs from being clearly labeled over the years.
The accusations against Monsanto are backed by a collection of emails which are being used in court as evidence. The emails were allegedly written by Monsanto executives asking staff to “ghost-write” articles and have “independent scientists” sign off under each “study” in order to reduce their costs.
Monsanto insists that its products are safe, stating that the spring 2015 World Health Organization declaration that glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen” runs contrary to other studies.
But critics point out that Monsanto has routinely wielded its influence and pocketbook in order to manufacture “safety” studies, colluded with government officials, and worked overtime to change the actual narrative surrounding its products and image.
For more information on the court documents including email excerpts and Monsanto’s response, check out the full article by clicking here.