GMO News Right to Know GMO sign

Published on June 19th, 2012 | by Tanya Sitton

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GMO Update: CA Labeling Initiative Qualifies for Ballot, Industry Releases PR Hounds

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Right to Know GMO protest sign

A California GMO labeling initiative met requirements last week for inclusion on the November 2012 ballot. Biotechnology interests have already begun an all-out assault with big marketing guns, towards convincing CA voters that (despite all evidence to the contrary) they actually don’t want GMO foods labeled. Will pro-consumer forces be strong enough to stand the onslaught?

Signatures for Right to Know Act Exceed Requirements — Ballot, Here She Comes!

The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act needed 504,760 verified signatures of registered voters to win inclusion on the November ballot; proponents delivered 971,126, exceeding both legal requirements for ballot approval and their original goal of 800,000 signatures. California Secretary of State Debra Bowen announced in a June 11 press release that the measure had passed the signature threshhold, and was officially approved for appearance on the ballot this fall.

According to Natural News,

A passage of this initiative could spell the end of GMOs in America, as food  producers already know that if given a choice, 90+ percent of consumers would  choose to avoid genetically engineered food. For this reason, food  producers would be forced to switch to non-GMO sources for their food  ingredients. This, in turn, would see a near collapse of GM seeds being planted  in fields across America.

Industry: “DANGIT!!!” (Paraphrased)

The biotech giants are understandably displeased. Despite overwhelming support for GMO labeling in the US, so far they’ve managed to block it at every turn. But for the first time in US history, it’s a ballot initiative; this time, they can’t just bully our elected representatives into prioritizing Monsanto’s interests over those of voters.

In November, California voters will have the opportunity to make their state the first in the union to mandate GMO labels. Vermont and Connecticut legislators rejected that opportunity earlier this year, cowed by Monsanto’s legal bluster. But since the California Right to Know GE Food Act is a voter initiative rather than a bill, to successfully impose their monolithic legal will on the people of California Monsanto would have to individually threaten each registered voter with infinite legal persecution if they vote ‘yes.’

Monsanto and their industry consorts could probably do that; but it’d be a lot more hassle and headache than just menacing a handful of elected representatives. So instead — at least as ‘plan A’ — they’re marshalling vast resources towards convincing California voters that they don’t want what (according to every poll so far) they actually do want: GMO food labeling.

On June 13 the industry-funded ‘Coalition Against the Deceptive and Costly Food Labeling Proposition’ issued a press release calling GMO foods “some of the safest and most thoroughly-tested food to ever enter our food supply.”

The fact that testing for chronic, reproductive, and developmental toxicity has never been adequately investigated, that GMO crops have hurt farmers, that reliance on GMO agriculture has reduced biodiversity at a national and global level, causing unforseen environmental impacts — or the fact that all  ‘testing‘ has been done behind closed doors by the very entities poised to benefit most from GMO product approval — is of course conveniently (and unscientifically) omitted from the statement.

Consider the Source

The roster of Coalition members reads like an anti-consumer conference agenda:

  • Tom Hiltachk, former big tobacco PR hotshot and fake-grassroots-group front man;
  • Kathy Fairbanks, former anti-consumer fake-grass-roots-group worker for the insurance industry with “a lengthy history of serious misconduct;”
  • Maryann Marino, big-money backed corporate darling and front-group organizer, known for her tireless work against corporate liability for consumer injury;
  • Corporate trade group American Tort Reform Association, representing interests of member corporations such as Philip Morris, Dow Chemical, Exxon, Kraft Foods, and (yes, you guessed it!) Monsanto.

A recent AlterNet article discuses the deceptive (but effective) strategy by which corporate entities try to trick consumers into voting against their own interests: cloak greedy seedy consumer-harming goals with fake ‘grass-roots’ front groups, who then pretend to advocate for consumers — by supporting legislation benefitting corporate backers at consumer expense. Brilliant! Yet (predictably) sleazy.

The Coalition Against Costly Food Labeling Proposition (CACFLP) runs a website called stopcostlyfoodlabeling.com, giving the impression that this is a group concerned about protecting consumers’ wallets. But the website lists only one consumer group in its coalition – Consumers Coalition of California. A search of the IRS.gov site turns up nothing on this group. According to the coalitions’ 2009 990-Form published on Guidestar.org, this Torrance, Calif.-based coalition describes itself as “Research and oriented community education studies and info for residential and small businesses advocating on issues affecting major legislation.” The group has no website. No other national or California-based consumer groups are listed on the CACFLP site…

… The newly launched website, Find Our Common Ground, may not fit in the heavy-hitter category, but it’s another example of a thinly veiled attempt by a group to look as if it’s working for small farmers, gardeners, and health-conscious folks.  The group also has a facebook page, to help spread its folksy message.

The message? Direct from the group’s website:

“Consumers aren’t getting the real story about American agriculture and all that goes into growing and raising their food. We’re a group of volunteer farm women and we plan to change that by doing something extraordinary. Our program is called CommonGround and it’s all about starting a conversation between women who grow food, and the women who buy it. It’s a conversation based on our personal experience as farmers, but also on science and research. Our first goal is to help consumers understand that their food is not grown by a factory. It’s grown by people and it’s important to us that you understand and trust the process. We hope you’ll join in the conversation.”

The message maker? A quick search on Wois.com reveals that Osborn Barr Communications, a PR company with ties to – who else? – Monsanto – owns the domain name. Osborn Barr specializes in agriculture and rural communities and is used to create front groups for their clients.  In 2006, Monsanto hired Osborn Barr to work on the controversial recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone issue, so Osborn Barr set up American Farmers for Advancement and Conservation of Technology (AFACT), a pro-rbGH farmer front group.

Fiction, Deception, and Spin: What Science Is Not

Framing itself as an unbiased science-driven organization, rather than a contrived and shamelessly deceptive corporate marketing tool, the Coalition Against the Deceptive and Costly Food Labeling Proposition (you can tell by their name just how unbiased and scientific they are!) asserts that:

Leading scientists and academics today issued a statement in response to the qualification of a measure on California’s November ballot that would require mandatory labels of food grown or produced using genetic engineering. Like the overwhelming majority of scientific and medical experts and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, these scientists believe that foods made with the benefit of modern biotechnology are safe and that labeling them as “genetically engineered” would mislead consumers by creating the false impression that foods containing GE ingredients are less safe than foods made without the benefit of biotechnology.

In reality, actual scientific groups have been continually thwarted in their efforts to assess health and environmental issues surrounding GMO foods and crops. Monsanto has repeatedly been caught engaging in corrupt, anti-science behavior for maximum financial gain at any cost. The decision to allow GMOs to slip unlabeled into the US food supply was political, not science-driven. Stating well-funded fiction assertively within a press release does not transform it into fact.

If the data were actually on their side, Monsanto et al would not need to fake it. There would be actual grass roots organizations NOT run on a multi-million-dollar-budget by industry hacks, with actual consumers as vocal and committed as members of the Institute for Responsible Technology, Organic Consumers’ Association, Food Democracy Now, JustLabelIt, LabelGMOs, and (an exciting new grass roots group everyone should check out!) GMO-Free USA.

The GMO debate is not between pro-science and anti-science forces; it’s not even truly about pro-biotechnology or anti-biotechnology ideas. Anyone who tells you differently is selling something.

The core of the issue is GMO regulation targeting corporate versus consumer benefit, and that’s a hard sell for Monsanto in any reality-based debate: hence the big-league fact manipulation and PR spin.

Only time will tell whether voters are gullible enough to fall for it.

Cali, Don’t Buy the Snake Oil!

Farmers and consumers stand to benefit from fair and accurate labeling of GMO foods. Actual people, in this country, overwhelmingly want fair and accurate labeling of GMO foods. Based on reasonable and actual (vs. incomplete and biased) scientific assessment, good reasons exist to require fair and accurate labeling of GMO foods.

Reason-based (vs. PR-based) analysis indicates that GMO labels will not significantly raise food costs; will not open food producers to unreasonable lawsuits; will not in fact have any negative impacts on anyone other than the multinational biotech megacorporations who have run roughshod over US consumers for the last thirty years — since GMOs were introduced to our food supply en masse, inadequately tested and determinedly unlabeled.

The only entity who benefits from the current culture of deception and secrecy in food labeling — fortunately — lacks voting rights in California.

Don’t sell them yours!

Vote Yes on the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act, or on anything like it that inspires so much industry huckterism: that’s a pretty good indicator it’s an excellent idea.

Pass it on!

Image credit: Creative Commons photo by MillionsAgainstMonsanto.

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About the Author

is an ecovore, veganist, messy chef, green girl, food revolutionary, and general free-thinkin' rabble-rouser. M.S. in a health profession, with strong interests in biology, nutrition, and healthy living - find her on .



  • http://www.healthyplants.org Richard

    I’ve written extensively about this subject. Visit this link to get an alternative viewpoint http://bit.ly/JM734J

    • Tanya Sitton

      I always appreciate alternate viewpoints, and think that any debate requiring demonizing ‘the other side’ is not worth having.

      I see both GMO labeling advocates and opponents going there, and find it unproductive. Your article is well written and concise, but seems sort of in that vein… Would you really argue that there has been tranparent unbiased thorough scientific inquiry into GMO crops and foods? Or that there have been no health changes in the US population since widespread implementation of GMO foods? No, there’s no proven link between diabetes (just a random example, chosen b/c it’s linked to liver function which is one area some researchers would like to explore further regarding some GM foods) — but who’s been looking? Who would know, when the only researchers allowed to study it are those who benefit if there’s no problem? Who would know, when there’s no way right now to even collect data that ever *could* show correlation between these things, if such occurs — people don’t know how much GMO stuff they’re eating (since it’s unlabeled), so it’s impossible to see whether there’s even a potential relationship between level of GMO food consumption and (whatever health problem)’s increased occurence rate… Coming from a science background like you, I honestly don’t see how anyone thinks that the current paradigm could possibly lead to good scientific data regarding GMOs in any context.

      I’m not demonizing biotechnology, and am open to arguments that there are possible benefits to be explored *given responsible management*… But under the current system, unbiased and thorough scientific inquiry is impossible. Given the industry’s persistent determination to avoid transparency and unbiased scientific inquiry at any cost, I don’t understand how anyone can honestly think continuation of the current nonregulated system serves anyone’s interest but shareholders of Dow and Monsanto.

      If GMO foods/ crops are detrimental to health/ environment, labels are a good idea. If they aren’t, labels will require industry to pursue increased transparency and unbiased scientific inquiry, which will serve to lay consumer doubts to rest and prevent unintended problems with new biotech products in the future.

      Either way, whether you’re pro or anti biotech, I see labels as the only way forward that ends well.

      Thanks for your consistently thoughtful and respectful comments. :-)

      Tanya

  • http://www.healthyplants.org Richard

    Dear Tanya:
    You seem like a nice young woman. I suppose this whole debate about pesticides and GMO products boils down this this — from my perspective. I am 65 years old. I bench press 250 pounds, run 4 miles a day and am in quite good health, according to my latest annual physical three months ago. I take no medications. I have been eating conventional produce all my life and hardly ever wash my fruits and veggies. I have been eating GMO foods for 15 years. So far, I have not grown a third nostril or hair on the bottom of my feet. Trying not to be flip, this whole dialogue about the unsafetyness of conventionally grown crops is strange to me. From my own experience, I wouldn’t pay a dime for organic anything — which, I point out, do contain pesticides.

    • Tanya Sitton

      To me, it boils down to who our regulatory system serves. Since the massive introduction of GMO stuff to the US food supply, all biotechnology industry ‘regulation’ has revolved around corporate goals. Hypothetically, for the sake of argument, if there are no health or environmental problems related to GMO foods, that happened almost completely by accident: because there’s no way at present to tell whether there are or not. They’ve been completely unlabeled, unregulated (in any meaningful way), and unstudied by skeptical unbiased researchers.

      I’m glad you’re healthy; but surely you recognize the scientific meaninglessness of applying population studies to an individual, or vice versa. Smoking contributes to cancer development; but that doesn’t mean that every individual who smokes will get cancer. The fact that some smokers don’t contract lung cancer doesn’t invalidate the link between cancer and smoking. That’s not how epidemiology works.

      The truth is we have no idea what possible health effects could be related to consuming 70%+ GMO foods; because the system has been designed to prevent honest investigation of that very question. If there’s no problem, great: fantastic. But it seems intellectually dishonest to argue there’s no problem when it’s scientifically impossible to investigate the issue in any meaningful way, based on current labeling and regulatory norms.

      I think there are social justice problems with absolute reliance on GMO crops, due to the tendency towards seed monopoly/ centralized corporate control of farmers. Growing up rural, I can tell you where I live quality of life for food growers has diminished over the last 30 years. Monsanto and biotech reliance are squarely at the center of that issue, due to forced dependence on patented seeds and their related chemistry.

      GMO crop development is tremendously expensive in terms of financial and natural resources, and I think we’re kidding ourselves if we imagine that’s sustainable in any sense of the term.

      Regardless of any of these points, Monsanto lacks the right to dictate what legislation may or not be passed, within a representative democracy; and the deceptive, self serving, sneaky marketing strategies being used by the biotech industry in California have nothing to do with consumer benefit, and deserve no respect whatsoever — no matter one’s view of GMO foods.

      I’m 41, eat organic vegan, can do about an hour of hard cardio before needing a break, and am likewise healthy. Just in case anyone was wondering. Not relevant to the current debate, perhaps, but I’m proud of the cardio bit and thought I’d share. ;-)

  • http://www.healthyplants.org Richard

    Tanya:
    There’s been no problems with GMO foods and this has happened by accident? Really? Why do you persist to see threats when there are none?
    In the United States, more than 170 million acres of biotech crops were planted in 2011. We’ve been growing GM crops for almost a generation, all over the world. Farmers have harvested billions of acres of them. People have eaten trillions of servings of food derived from these sources – all this without even as much as a reported tummy-ache.

    OK. You see things your way, I see things mine. But I really am amazed at your naivete. If GMO products caused illnesses it would be on the level of E-coli in lettuce and hamburgers. Yet, silence. So I have a final word. Unless you are a shameless hypocrite, I suggest you stop eating most conventionally grown foods. You need to increase the volume of foods you grow in your garden, because conventional farming is here to stay — and that equates to pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. And, organic commercial production will never approach the realistic quanitites of food production that we will need to feed 9 billion people in 2050. Anyway, if you are so scared of conventionally grown foods, then be true to yourself and harvest your own garden. The rest of us are quite comfortable with the safe, affordable and plentiful foodstuffs that modern agriculture provides us.
    .

    • Tanya Sitton

      No, ‘we’re’ not! Hence the major consumer agitation for increased transparency, in terms of GE food; hence 90%+ of the population supporting GMO labels; hence industry’s need for secrecy, scientific dishonesty, and corrupt behavior to convince people to buy their products.

      Point: US consumer health has decreased over the last 30 years in several important ways, far beyond a ‘tummy ache’. Obesity, diabetes, asthma, food allergies, ADD/ ADHD, and some types of cancer come to mind. I’m not saying this is linked to GMO foods, but I am emphatically saying that (under current guidelines) there is no scientifically honest way to even begin to assess that question! You don’t see that as a problem? To me, THAT is naive. If there hasn’t been a problem yet — and you don’t know that any more than I do, b/c right now there’s no way to check — there’s no reason to think the current system will not create problems eventually. Total industry control of safety research + no ability to conduct independent long term studies (due to lack of labeling) = perfect recipe for problems. If people think that sounds like a bad setup, they should have the right not to support it.

      Point: environmental effects are different with GMO than non-GMO crops. People should have an opportunity to know what they’re supporting; the industry should in no case be charged with doing environmental impact assessments on its own products.

      Point: farmers are not thriving under the current GMO-driven paradigm. More people are getting out of farming, less young people are going into it, and in many communities quality of life for growers is going down. Glyphosate appears to be causing increasing trouble in rural areas, both for wildlife such as streamdwelling amphibians and for the children of farmers who use glyphosate resistant crops (due to increasing use of Roundup/ runoff into waterways). People should have a right to choose to support this situation or not, based on accurate labeling.

      I am glad we agree that increased local production of organic food is a good idea; yay! Common ground. I HAVE increased the volume of food I grow in my garden; as well as food I trade for, with other gardeners; as well as the volume of food I buy from individual farmers who grow organic (or sometimes conventional but non-GMO) food. I think these are excellent strategies for many reasons, including the one under discussion. For whatever crops that we do need to produce large-scale, I think it’s even more important to do those sustainably; which so far doesn’t seem to fit the GMO paradigm at all. And for the record, conventional vs organic isn’t the same debate as GMO vs non-GMO — they’re not interchangeable, for purposes of debate regarding GMO labeling.

      As far as ‘feeding the world,’ that’s where I think biotech’s case is absolutely weakest. That’s not what the technology is being used for; let’s not pretend. World hunger hasn’t improved since the biotech industry took over US agriculture. In fact, a shift away from small scale sustainable agroecological practices sustained at the community level, towards dependence on cash-market patented seeds and chemicals seems to be the opposite of what the world’s poorest areas need in terms of food stability. US GMO stuff is mainly used to make cheap animal feed and high fructose corn syrup. That’s not so noble a goal, in my mind, that all actual non-industry-run regulation should be summarily forfeit.

  • http://www.healthyplants.org Richard

    Obesity? Let’s get rid of the fast-food joints on every corner, let’s eliminate the processed foods, sugars and high fats in American diets and bring back physical education to our schools that have been hammered by budget deficits resulting in cutbacks. And let’s restore personal responsibility and accountability to America and let’s stop claiming we are all victims of some black helicopter conspiracy.

    If we can’t trust our USDA and EPA departments and their scientists to determine food safety who can we trust — people such as the Environmental Working Group? I think not. Oh, and by the way Tonya, the American Medical Association announced this week that “there is no scientific justification for special labeling of bioengineered foods.” This is the AMA for Christ’s sake. It believes that nothing about the process of recombinant DNA makes genetically engineered crop plants inherently more dangerous to the environment or to human health than the traditional crop plants that have been deliberately but slowly bred for human purposes for millennia. This is the shared view by the National Academy of Sciences, the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N., the European Commission, and countless other national science academies and non-governmental organizations.

    Tanya, you are on the wrong side of this debate. But, as the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. Since your viewpoints on these complex matters fly in the face of global scientific opinions, I must admit that I put as much worth in you message as I do with anything coming out of the mouth of Sarah Palin.

    • Tanya Sitton

      I agree with the AMA: there is no evidence and never will be — regardless of any problem that might ever occur for the rest of eternity! — if unbiased skeptical researchers are not allowed to gather it. I don’t think that’s a good setup, whether it’s caused problems yet or not. The FDA and USDA are pretty much a joke at this point, it seems to me, with no teeth (or no inclination?) to actually regulate anything that big ag supports — as evidenced by recent court decisons against said agencies regarding inadequate regulation of agricultural antibiotics (FDA) and inappropriate approval for GMO plants in a national park (USDA). A non-rubber-stamp regulatory process, every now and then, actually rejects something!

      I don’t ask for your trust; you ask for mine, if you argue against GMO labels. I only ask to move the biotech industry into the same world of accountability and accurate labeling we (rightfully) expect from other food suppliers — humans are diverse; we disagree, no problem. SO, logically, I should be able to buy what I want, and you should be able to buy what you want. Labels give me the ability to do that, without taking anything away from you.

      If the pro-GMO arguments are so strong, and can stand up to unbiased scrutiny, there’s no reason for that move to be so very terrifying! So far, Monsanto has effectively bought the scientific opinions you quote. Open it up to free market pressures, and open it up to non-industry scientific scrutiny: if it can stand it and still look edible, I’ll review the evidence with an open mind. But to agree with you at present, I would have to decide what conclusion I wanted to reach and then make the limited data fit what I wanted to conclude. That is the very antithesis of scientific inquiry, and I reject that option.

      The science is incomplete, and industry simply does not have the right to decide on all our behalves what our regulatory or legislative agencies must do. That’s what it comes down to; and your hyperbolic black helicopter talk — or attempts to characterize anyone with concerns as crazy and/or ignorant and/or naive — doesn’t change it. If the biotech industry can’t stand labels, something’s wrong. Labeling laws will either kill or vindicate the industry; either way, it’s good for consumers, and long past due.

  • maria

    EVERY morning I get up I say, “Monsanto can kiss my ass” and I mean it. The world knows they are nothing but a propaganda machine and first and foremost A CHEMICAL COMPANY and the most hated corporation on earth. We support our organic, non gmo farmers who don’t buy into monsanto bullshit and pray that CALLIE will be where our voices will be heard and we will LABEL THIS SHIT as was done in the rest of the world.

  • http://www.healthyplants.org Richard

    Maria:
    Sounds like you lead an exciting and inspired life since you are so preoccupied with dissing Monsanto in every moment of your existence. Congratulations! With your colorful use of language you have succeeded in lowering the dialogue to that of Rosanne Barr.

  • http://www.calfertilizer.org Rebecca

    Maria: Shouldn’t “CALLIE” be “Collie” as in TV’s famous Lassie? Such a cute dog :-)

  • http://www.healthyplants.org richard

    Maria: Shouldn’t “CALLIE” be “COLLIE” as in TV’s Lassie? Such a cute dog.

  • http://www.healthyplants.org Richard

    Maria: You lead such an exciting and inspired life, dissing Monsanto with every breath of your existence. We all have our demons. And your colorful speech has lowered the dialogue to that of Roseanne Barr. Your parents must be quite proud.

    • Tanya Sitton

      2012 note: grown women no longer tailor their behavior to the approval of random men, nor do they depend on parental approval of their vocabulary.

      Maria: sing it like you see it, sister! Roseanne Barr is WAY more popular than Monsanto. ;-)

  • Diana Reeves

    Tanya,
    Thank you for winning that argument. You did an absolutely wonderful job articulating the issues. I give you a lot of credit for sticking with it. Talking to these people can be like banging your head against the wall. The bottom line is, the people of California will vote and the will of the people will be heard in November. Here is a link to a petition that can be signed by all US residents & beyond to voice their support for the California Ballot initiative to label GMOs because we have a right to know what’s in our food. Whether it be fat content, vitamin content, or GMO content, it comes down to freedom of choice. We are not telling Richard and his biotech buddies they can’t eat this crap. We’ll serve it to them on a silver platter. Please sign to show your support for California:

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/331/947/348/support-the-citizens-of-california-and-the-california-gmo-labeling-ballot-initiative/

    • Tanya Sitton

      Signed and shared! I’ll try to circulate it further any way I can think of… thanks! :)

  • Tanya Sitton

    Hold it: this is just too perfect!! This very comment thread is a perfect study of what the article refers to as deceptive PR practices — Richard seems to have industry ties. Surprise! (or, actually, sadly typical…)

    Richard, in past comments here at EDB you’ve advocated on behalf of corporate producers of dangerous (illegally approved) methyl iodide; against legislation protecting battery hens; and EVERY time anyone here writes about problems with GMO agriculture you’re all over it – almost as if you have an email alert for anything tagged with ‘Monsanto.’ Hmmm. Interesting.

    In fact, I think I’ve asked about this before, because your posts consistently sound pro-Monsanto PR-ish… Other EDB readers, please consider a few of Richard’s past comments, to see what I mean:

    “Can you cite one example of GMO poisoning any one? Or causing a person to grow an extra toe, or nostril? Stop this fear mongering and study up on the subject you have ignorantly attacked.” (in response to: GM Crops Don’t Deliver What They Promise)

    “Are babies getting sick from eating GMO foods? Where? When? Shouldn’t someone inform the masses that we are being poisoned by genetically engineered plants? Are we all in danger of growing hair on the bottom of our feet, or even a third nostril?” (in response to: Tell Organic Baby-food Companies to Remove GMOs)

    “Why would one want to prevent consumers from eating GMO foods, unless one has a business interest in the organics market.” (in response to : Ask Walmart to Say No to GMO Corn)

    “It’s really not my job to convince you of anything, since you see black helicopters connected to Big Ag around every corner. My suggestion: If you find Big Ag so suspicious and devious, stop buying its products. Grow your own food in your back yard. I would call that ‘standing by your convictions.’” (in response to: Anti-GMO is Not Anti-Science)

    SO, I did a little digging. Traced you to LinkedIn, Richard. Guess what I found?!

    It’s beautiful, really: your comments here illustrate the point of my article, in which I criticize sleazy deceptive industry practices by which paid consultants pretend to represent consumers!

    For informed EDB readers following this thread, who know the value of considering the source of what you read, apparently Richard works for the Western Plant Health Association, formerly the California Plant Health Association — who worked hard for Monsanto and the other biotech corporations against the 2004 GMO ban in Mendocino (lost that one, btw!). (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Western_Plant_Health_Association)

    Direct excerpts from Richard’s LinkedIn profile:

    http://www.linkedin.com/pub/richard-cornett/4/829/5a0
    “Richard Cornett
    Communications Director
    Western Plant Health Association
    June 2006 – Present (6 years 1 month)

    Objective is to create and preserve a corporation’s good name and reputation.

    Specialties
    Building and perserving the exemplary reputation of associations, companies and corporations through effective mass media communications.

    Maintain two Web sites and handle media inquiries for a trade association that represents the largest agchem companies in the world, i.e., Monsanto, Dow, Dupont, Bayer, etc.

    Write monthly articles for several ag trade journals and conduct media training sessions for hundreds of our members…”

    So, yyyeeeeaaaahhhhh… please be assured that I will point out your resume to any and all future EDB readers, following each comment fostering pro-industry anti-consumer misinformation PR activity on this site.

    Sir, you make my case better than I ever could. On behalf of all us pro-organic, pro-GMO-labeling, pro-consumer, pro-science, anti-deception, anti-sleazy-corporate-manipulation-of-our-food-system radicals: thanks ever so much!

    Now: knock it off.

  • Cristyn

    Thank you, Richard. There is nothing I like more than a big hearty bowl of bullshit first thing in the morning. I’m full now, thanks.

  • keli

    LMAO!! Too perfect! Excellent job, Ms. Sitton!!

  • Kevin Ledbetter

    I have but one question. If GMO foods are perfectly safe, why would a corporation spend tons of money fighting transparency? I mean, wouldn’t be cheaper to just stamp a little “GMO” on the package if it’s really no big deal? Don’t we have the right to know?

    • Tanya Sitton

      Wait a minute… there you go getting all radical and ignorant and naive, with your pesky logic and reason. They HATE when people do that! (By which I mean, excellent point!)

  • http://www.healthyplants.org Richard

    Tanya: You appear to be saying that working inside agriculture is a bad thing. Actually, it gives me access to the scientists (academia, governmental protection agencies, etc.) formulating the chemicals that get applied to our foods. This is a real eye-opener. Perhaps, this is the reason that I know how safe our food products are. (I’ll bet you it was the Sarah Palin reference that rubbed you the wrong way. Right?)

    • Tanya Sitton

      I’m saying that you are not a scientist; you are not a farmer; you are not an environmental biologist; you are not a geneticist; you are a PR mouthpiece working hard to enhance the public reputation of whoever pays you, regardless of the merits of the argument.

      So I don’t much care what you say: they get what they pay for. You’re insulting the intelligence of everyone here by pretending otherwise.

      But hey: at this point, like I said, you’re making my case better than I ever could. So for the moment, carry on; your comments will eventually be treated as spam, but I want everyone to see you try to talk your way out of the obvious: the only supporters of this industry are paid to be so. The science CAN’T stand on its own merits, so they hire folks to throw PR fairy dust on it in order to trick us into buying the magic beans.

      That system is failing, and failing grandly. You’re helping it, with your comments here.

      Thank you.

  • Kelli Hall

    Richard: you are a paid PR troll for Monsanto. Your opinion means nothing because. You are PAID to be a TROLL. Get a real job, douchebag.

  • http://www.healthyplants.org Richard

    Dear Ms. Hall.
    Your enlightened insights lend great value to the intellectual exploration of modern agricultural food production techniques and the chemical processes that allow humans to win the battle against those life forms programmed to rob us of our daily sustenance.

    • Kelli Hall

      LOL! Try again, Douchy McDoucherton. Anything you have to say is INVALID…altho I believe most writers get paid by how many comments/traffic they generate…so, comment away!(And I will be there reminding everyone who you work for) Your welcome, Ms. Sitton!!

  • http://www.healthyplants.org Richard

    So what you are saying Tonya is that this blog site forbids dissenting viewpoints. Or, that industry insiders can’t air their opinions in challenging others who post here who might be wrong in their assumptions. In other words, your either with us or against us, and if against us you don’t get to speak. Doesn’t seem very democratic and certainly cheapens the information one derives from engaging this thread. Those who post here — if your viewpoint differs from hers (theirs) beware … smacks of gestapo tactics.

    • Kelli Hall

      lol! “Industry insider”…you are a PAID WHORE FOR MONSANTO”…do you honestly think people don’t see what you’re doing and judge you for it? and do you misspell her name on purpose, or are you just a douche? Never mind, I think we ALL know the answer to that. Once again:

      Richard (can I call you Dick) Cornett
      Communications Director
      Western Plant Health Association
      June 2006 – Present (6 years 1 month)

      Maintain two Web sites and handle media inquiries for a trade association that represents the largest agchem companies in the world, i.e., Monsanto, Dow, Dupont, Bayer, etc. Write monthly articles for several ag trade journals and conduct media training sessions for hundreds of our members.

      Time for a new job, dick.
      Anybody that wants to offer a different opinion & back it up with facts are welcome….unless they’re employed by Monsanto.
      I’m getting tired of playing with you, dick.
      It’s no fun to have a battle of wits with an unarmed person… :(

      • Dee

        well said kelli! monsanto pays him to post what he posts as part of their pr strategy and he cries gestapo when someone remarks upon the influence that fact clearly has on the content of his arguments. hilarious!

        • Kelli Hall

          Thank you ma’am! I’m trying to be as annoying as he is…I hope it’s working, cuz this is exhausting! What a sucky job he has…

    • Tanya Sitton

      Yes; if this thread proves anything, it’s that I’m not at all willing to engage in debate with those who hold alternate viewpoints. I am the gestapo, as well as Sarah Palin: yep!

      I’ll let readers decide for themselves whether you’re interested in debate or spin, and which side of the debate on this thread is based on science and reason versus straight-up marketing. What I won’t do is provide your bosses with free advertising. That’s not what this site is about, and your input is no longer welcome on my posts.

      Attention future commenters: if you work PR for an industry you’re defending, disclose that relationship or use some other site to peddle your wares. Otherwise, your comments will become spam as soon as I catch you at it.

      Like GMO foods: if you can’t stand the transparency of full disclosure, we’re not interested in what you’re selling.

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