According to reports from activists, Monsanto is organizing its own powerful and convincing “astroturf” movement
EXCERPT: Monsanto representatives are apparently calling moms who are in favor of labeling genetically-modified foods, pretending to agree with them, couriering them documents that include letters addressed to members of Congress and containing their personal stories and asking the Congress members to support H.R. 1599—a bill that is known by environmentalists as the DARK Act because it “Denies Americans the Right to Know” what’s in their food.
Did Monsanto organize a fake grassroots campaign in favor of GMOs?
Michelle Schoffro Cook
Care2, June 30, 2015
[links to sources at URL above]
The company that brought you genetically-modified foods, the carcinogenic pesticide Roundup, and what many would describe as global mayhem, may be stooping to a new low, according to the Organic Consumers Association (OCA). According to the non-profit advocacy group that works to protect the food supply, Monsanto is now using a fake grassroots campaign in an effort to raise political support for their products. Called “astroturfing”, the approach involves manufacturing an artificial grassroots campaign of citizens or coalitions that is actually a corporately-created and/or funded campaign and a front for corporate interests.
According to the National Director of the OCA, Ronnie Cummins, “When the first email came in describing Monsanto’s latest campaign of trickery and deception, I thought it sounded far-fetched. But then other activists chimed in, and I realized it was true. According to reports from our activists on the ground in California, Washington State, and Oregon, Monsanto is organizing its own powerful and convincing ‘astroturf’ movement.”
The organization states that it received “a detailed email, with pdf images of documents sent to one of our activists from a Monsanto ‘astroturf’ leader” proving that the company is engaging in the arguably unethical practice of astroturfing. Monsanto representatives are apparently calling moms who are in favor of labeling genetically-modified foods, pretending to agree with them, couriering them documents that include letters addressed to members of Congress and containing their personal stories and asking the Congress members to support H.R. 1599—a bill that is known by environmentalists as the DARK Act because it “Denies Americans the Right to Know” what’s in their food.
Initiated by the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the bill blocks the ability of state and local governments from requiring genetically-modified foods to be labelled. Instead companies would simply notify the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to inform them that the companies’ food products that contain genetically-modified organisms are “substantially equivalent” to non-genetically modified foods.
Says Ronnie Cummins, “It’s a direct attempt to deceive and confuse busy moms and deluge Congress members with letters of support for a federal bill that would not only ban labeling forever, but also pre-empt bans on GMO crops, preclude pre-market safety testing of GMO foods,, and take away food companies’ right to voluntarily obtain independent GMO-free certification.”
According to Global Research, over 90 percent of Americans want genetically-modified organisms labelled, yet the Grocery Manufacturers Association, funded by large corporations like Monsanto, CocaCola, and Starbucks, continues to press for contradictory legislation.
Recognizing that 90 percent of American taxpayers want genetically-modified organisms labelled, Representative Peter DeFazio introduced bill HR 913, also known as the Genetically-Engineered Food Right to Know Act. This act requires genetically-engineered food and any food that contains genetically-engineered ingredients to be labelled as such. However many environmental and food safety advocates are concerned that industry pressures may persuade government representatives to vote in favor of the DARK Act. This may be particularly an issue now that Monsanto seems to be orchestrating an astroturf movement.