Monsanto’s CEO Hugh Grant went on “CBS This Morning” earlier today to discuss all the concerns people have about the corporations practices and products. This article will discuss all the talking points of that interview and his responses.
The first talking point was the Safety of GMO crops, to which Grant used the standard Monsanto misinformation for his answer: GMOs are one of the most studied product in the world. The reason I categorize this as misinformation instead of disinformation is because it is not an outright lie; there are indeed a lot of studies on GMOs, the majority showing GMOs are safe. The only problem is most of these studies are what I call “corporate science”, which is when a corporation either funds or directly conducted a study on their own product’s safety or effectiveness. This conflict of interest always results in the way you would expect– the studies show the product in a good light. When I decided to write about this practice it was because Monsanto and the pharmaceutical industry were using this practice to get products they knew had safety issues approved at the deterrent of our wellbeing. So, Grant is technically correct, there are studies showing that GMOs are safe for human consumption. Although, he is leaving out 90 day “long-term” studies conducted or funded by Monsanto are used to “prove” GMOs. However, 90 days is laughable for a long term study when you are using Sprague-Dawley mice, a type of mice traditionally used for long term studies that last 2 years. So, it is not surprising to find out that independent studies contradict the findings of the flawed 90 day studies. The most famous independent study was when French scientist Gilles Seralini lead an independent toxicological study using the same parameters of the Monsanto 90 day trail, but extended the study to last 2 years. Seralini et al found a multitude of health issues, many manifesting right after the 90 day mark!
In other words, Grant’s claim is intentionally deceiving and misinformation at best, which is comical when you consider that he also brings up the narrative that the general public is against Monsanto because of misinformation about them.
The 90 day studies is an area that I wish the interviewers would have brought up.
The next talking point was Monsanto’s anti-GMO labeling stance. Grant starts off by claiming he is for ingredient list transparency, but states the labeling law needs to happen on the national level, adding the law should be based on facts and science (he no doubt wants the “facts” to come from “corporate science”) . Let me just address this first part before we go on because the labeling talking point has a few things that need to be addressed individually. First off, the claim for Monsanto wanting transparency is a cop out. If the CEO of a multinational corporation as powerful as Monsanto truly wanted transparency he would pressure the food manufacturers label all Monsanto products. The reason the labeling laws are needed is because food manufactures and biotech giants like Monsanto do not want people to know the food they eat is full of GMOs.
Additionally, Monsanto wanting a national law on GMO labeling is for obvious reasons, it is much easier (and cheaper) for them to lobby in Washington to get laws that benefited them than letting the public decide for themselves via state level proposition ballets or pressuring their local politicians into making GMO labeling laws. What Grant is not telling you is the National Law he is pushing for is the so-called Dark Act , which would make labeling voluntary for the manufacturers and not mandatory, like the people want. The act also would prohibit states from making mandatory labeling laws, a clear violation of the Tenth Amendment. The reason Grant wants this national law is because it is business as usual for them while crushing the grassroots movements that have been pushing for labeling laws.
Transparency the Monsanto way is to allow manufacturers to decide if they will let the consumer know when GMO ingredients are in their food products. And lets not be naïve enough to think these people will voluntarily label GMOs out of the kindness of their heart. If they cared about the consumer’s concerns over what is in their food they would have labeled their GMO ingredients when the public started demanding the right to know years ago.
This national bill is anti-transparency.
The most surprising part about the interview happened during the labeling talking point, one of the interviewers brought up Monsanto spending 4 million in California and 6 million in Colorado against the proposition ballots started in those states to get mandatory GMO labeling. I wish she would have brought up that they spent the same amount to fight similar ballets in other states, or asked how much they spent lobbying to get the dark act started. But, it was a pleasant surprise that she even brought up that they spent 10 million in two states to make sure consumers did not know when their GMO products were in the food they buy.
Unfortunately, Grant was given the floor to weave a web of propaganda about why Monsanto was the good guy for fighting to stop mandatory labeling and the interviewers just moved on without follow-up questions. For instance, the idea that they are saving us money is the industry’s favorite propaganda used to convince us that they are actually protecting us by fighting against our right to know what is in our food we eat . Many different numbers are thrown around to try to convince us labeling is bad, Grant chooses to tell us labeling would cost every American $400- $500 a year. The only problem is there is absolutely zero logical reason to think that changing a label would raise the prices.
Does he think we are so dumb we do not know that 64 countries have mandated GMO labeling without the price hike he claims will happen if GMOs are labeled?
Or, maybe he thinks we are too dumb to know that manufacturers change their labels frequently without raising the prices?
The fact of the matter is that there have been numerous independent economic assessments on the effects of labeling and zero agree with the industry. This Consumers Union study gives us a good idea of what these independent assessments are saying and that is the cost is very small, costing a little over two dollars per person per year!
Additionally, Grant says he is opposed to state by state mandatory labeling laws because manufactures will have problems getting their product from one state to the next. I could see this being an issue at first, but the state laws mandating labeling would be the same: if the product has any GMO ingredient list all of them. So, the manufacturers would only need to make two labels, one for the states they can’t hide their GMO ingredients in, and the other label for states they can hide GMO ingredients.
Or, they could just do what the consumers want and label all GMO ingredients in all of their products…
I know, crazy idea, right?
The last two talking points were if Grant would eat GM Salmon and the safety of their Round-up herbicides. both questions were answered very simply and in ways you would expect, Grant stated he would eat GM Salmon and that studies show that roundup is safe. I really do not want to get into the lie about the safety of roundup because I have talked about how dangerous it is in numerous articles on the subject as of late. If you want to look into that you can find a few articles here. What I do want to discuss is why Grant claimed GM animals and their synthetic herbicides are needed today, he claims they are needed to help feed the ever-expanding population of the world. This little ditty is Monsanto’s first piece of propaganda used to get their seeds in the marketplace. Since day one, Monsanto et al has claimed traditional farming practices using organic seeds could not feed the world. Hence, the need for their product to come save the day. Nevertheless, this is just more disinformation that is not backed by science. In fact, the science actually shows that almost all organic seeds produce higher yields than its GMO counterparts (pp. 284, 318–321 of the second edition of GMO Myths and Truths). In other words, if Monsanto were actually concerned with feeding the world they would not be trying to do so with their GMO crops, chemical fertilizers and synthetic pesticides. They would be advocating organic seeds farmed in a traditional way. Period.
The interview ended with the reporter asking if Grant understood why people have concerns about Monsanto’s products, to which he states he does and that the answer is to clear up all the misinformation. The need clear up misinformation is something that Mr. Grant and I agree on. Where we disagree on is who is generating said misinformation. He wants you to believe that the independent scientist and the organic industry are spreading the misinformation against his corporation that is just trying to feed the world. Whereas, I know Monsanto has practically perfected using misinformation and disinformation to disseminate their propaganda to sell products that are harmful to our health and the environment as well.
We simply cannot allow this man, and the corporation he runs, to get away with these blatant lies any longer!