Monsanto is an international agriculture company that develops products for farmers around the world. Recently, the company has come under fire for allegedly participating in a cover-up campaign to suppress a study that was critical of one of their most popular products, Roundup.
The study that Monsanto worked to retract, led by Prof GE Seralini and coined the “Seralini Study,” found that Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide was causing rats to develop massive tumors, as well as serious kidney and liver damage.
New documents that have been released during an ongoing court case in San Francisco reveal that as Monsanto was working to get the damaging study retracted, the company was simultaneously trying to hide the fact that it was ever involved in the matter in the first place. Monsanto scientist David Saltmiras admitted to creating a “third party expert” campaign, where independent scientists would demand that the editor-in-chief of the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, A. Wallace Hayes, retract the study.
In one of the documents, Saltmiras brags about all of the things he has accomplished during his time with Monsanto, writing that he “Successfully facilitated numerous third party expert letters to the editor which were subsequently published, reflecting the numerous significant deficiencies, poor study design, biased reporting and selective statistics employed by Seralini. In addition, coauthored the Monsanto letter to the editor with [Monsanto employees] Dan Goldstein and Bruce Hammond.”
Saltmiras goes on to say how “Throughout the late 2012 Seralini rat cancer publication and media campaign, I leveraged my relationship [with] the Editor in Chief of the publishing journal… and was the single point of contact between Monsanto and the Journal.” This is factual evidence that Monsanto did play an active role in the attempts to influence research on their Roundup weed killer product.
Another Monsanto employee by the name of Eric Sachs wrote an email regarding Bruce Chassy, a scientist who pro-GMO Academics Review website. Sachs says in the email that Chassy “understands the urgency” of retracting the study. In response, Chassy urged Wallace Hayes to do just that: “My intent was to urge you to roll back the clock, retract the paper, and restart the review process.”
It was also revealed that a writer for Forbes by the name of Henry Miller had allowed Monsanto to ghost write an article downplaying the environmental risks associated with Roundup. Conveniently, Forbes took the article down just as Monsanto admitted to the New York Times that, “Our scientists have on occasion collaborated with Dr. Miller on other pieces.”
So Monsanto could have potentially been collaborating with Forbes for years and intentionally crafting articles in a way that benefits their company and their products, even if they were lying to the public in the process.
The potential risks and dangers associated with the use of Roundup have been well documented. Last year, The Intercept published an article about a farmer by the name of John Sanders, who worked for over three decades in the orange and grapefruit groves of Redlands, California. Both he and another landscaper by the name of Frank Turner routinely used Roundup to kill invasive weeds with ease.
However, after years of being exposed to Monsanto’s weed killing product, both men developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which is a blood cancer that starts in the lymph cells before spreading to the rest of the body. Each of them filed lawsuits against Monsanto, thus marking one of the most pivotal moments in the ongoing debate over the risks of excessive Roundup use.
As a well-established international company, it goes without saying that Monsanto has a responsibility to be honest with their customers and truthful about the products made available to them. Sadly, it appears that in recent years, the company has been anything but truthful.