World: Leaked Monsanto Report Reveals Plan to Push GM Foods
A confidential internal report leaked to GeneWatch UK reveals that Monsanto
is involved in a global campaign to promote GM foods by influencing which
experts get on international scientific committees, promoting their views
through supposedly independent scientists and gaining influence with key
decision makers in government departments in developing countries.
Monsanto's ten page internal report, headed 'company confidential', summarises the activities of its Regulatory Affairs and Scientific Outreach teams for May and June 2000. It describes developments in the regulation of GM crops in 20 countries
world-wide and Monsanto's efforts to influence them. The countries include Japan, Bulgaria, Thailand, Mexico, Brazil and Korea as well as the USA
and the European Union.
"The leaked report shows how Monsanto are trying to manipulate the regulation of GM foods across the globe to favour their interests," said Dr Sue Mayer, GeneWatch UK's Director. "It seems they are trying to buy influence with key individuals, stack committees with experts who support them, and subvert the scientific agenda around the world."
"The scale of their campaign shows just how desperate Monsanto is to save its business," said Dr Mayer. "The report shows that they have virtually given up trying to influence the debate here in the UK, having failed to convince the public of their case.
But it is worrying that Monsanto has clearly stepped up activity elsewhere,
particularly in developing countries. And whilst Monsanto often claim they
want to listen and engage in dialogue, it is quite clear from this leaked
report that this is just window dressing for a behind-the-scenes campaign to
promote their products come what may.
Governments and scientists are going to have to take precautions against such pressure if they are not to lose even more consumer confidence."
The following extracts from the leaked internal paper illustrate how
pervasive the Monsanto campaign is:
"Global: Scientific outreach and Ag Regulatory was instrumental in assuring
that key internationally recognized scientific experts were nominated to the
FAO/WHO expert consultation on food safety which was held in Geneva this
past month. The consultation and final report were very supportive of plant
biotechnology, including support for the critical role of substantial
equivalence in food safety assessments, antibiotic resistance markers used in these products, and the reservation of animal feeding studies to address specific
questions rather than for routine safety."
"Thailand: A GMO detection lab was established by the Ministry of Public
Health to develop methods to certify exports to Europe. The lab director Dr.
Pakdi is a key player in international CODEX activities and has requested
Monsanto's assistance to train technicians and provide reference samples.
Cooperation with this request is likely given the importance of the lab and
Dr. Pakdi's position."
"Global: Contacts were made with the directors of Poison Control Centers
(PCC) in many countries which should be especially useful to facilitate
rational regulation because the Poison Center directors are relied upon heavily by
state and local agencies;...an editorial was drafted by Dr John Thomas, (Emeritus
Professor of U.Texas Medical School in San Antonio) to place in a medical
journal as the first in a planned series of outreach efforts to physicians; a meeting was held with Prof. David Khayat, an internationally well known
cancer specialist, to collaborate on an article demonstrating the absence of
links between GM food and cancers..."
"Global: Monsanto representatives were successful at the recent Codex Food
Labelling Committee meeting on maintaining two labelling options for further
consideration by the committee."
See the GeneWatch UK website for the full text of the leaked document. For further information please contact: Sue Mayer on 01298 871898 (work), 01298 871558 (home) and 07930 308807 (mobile).
- 181 Food and Agriculture