myths tagged posts

Consumers want transparency and authenticity – and so do we

By Rachel Moore

Earlier this month, the European Food Information Council (EUFIC) held its 20 Years Stakeholders Conference entitled “The future of food and health – how will consumers react?” Representatives from 80 organisations across Europe attended the conference, which featured presentations from Dr. Laura Fernández Celemín, Professor Klaus Grunert, Professor Mike Gibney and John Keogh.

EUFIC is a non-profit organisation committed to providing science-based information on nutrition, health, food safety and quality to consumers. More information can be found at www.eufic.org or on their About page.

Dr. Laura Fernández Celemín, the director general of EUFIC, said science communication’s changing media landscape will undoubtedly lead to the movement of information online...

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No, Monsanto is not spreading a bacterial plague in Italy or developing GM olive trees / Dietro alla Xylella non c’è Monsanto

The latest ridiculous rumor making the rounds in Italy is that Monsanto is spreading a nasty bacterium (Xylella fastidiosa) that is plaguing Italy’s olive farmers in order to sell them genetically modified (GM) olive trees that are resistant to the bacterium.

Folks, we hear a lot of ridiculous myths about Monsanto every day, but this is the single most ridiculous thing that we’ve heard in years. It is pure propaganda that seems intended to demonize all agrochemicals. Shame on anyone who is spreading such lies and propaganda!

The facts:

1) Monsanto is not developing GM olive trees.

2) In fact we don’t sell olive trees (or seeds) at all. Our business in Europe is focused on non-GM maize, oilseed rape, vegetables and crop protection products and we have no intention of seeking authorisation...

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Monsanto is a seed company, not a GM company, European Vegetables Business Lead says

Ibrahim El MenschawiWhen many people think of Monsanto, they immediately think ‘Biotech’ and ‘GM’. Whilst we are proud of our global leadership position on GM crops, it will no doubt surprise many that GMOs are not actually Monsanto’s only focus.

Monsanto is a seed company. That’s what we do. The majority of Monsanto’s innovations are in crop and seed improvement, and in advanced conventional breeding techniques.

In fact, of the more than $4 million (USD) invested by Monsanto in R&D worldwide each day, less than half is spent specifically on GM technology.

Speaking to the IFAJ (International Federation of Agricultural Journalists) Congress in Aberdeen today, (5th September),  Monsanto’s EMEA Vegetable lead Ibrahim El Menschawi underlined this point and highlighted some of the many examples of no...

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Vandana Shiva, The New Yorker, and cold hard facts: Debunking the myths behind GMO “debate”

Genetically modified cotton grown from Monsanto seeds.

For years, media coverage of genetically modified foods (GMOs) has been dominated by simplistic coverage that media watchdogs would fondly describe as “he said, she said” stories, or stories that quoted one person making a sensationalist claim of some sort (e.g. “The earth is flat”), and another person responding to it, and just leaving it at that. It’s no wonder that such journalism has left the world little wiser in in its understanding of GM seeds and foods.

The latest edition the ‘‘New Yorker’ magazine finally breaks the mould, with one of the most well researched and carefully analysed pieces of investigative journalism in years...

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The Guardian’s report on “Why NGO’s can’t be trusted on GMO’s” — Turn of the tide?

We’ve seen too many false starts in Europe to think this marks a tide change, but yesterday’s piece in The Guardian — “Why NGOs can’t be trusted on GMOs” — was a rare and welcome moment of introspection in the pages of a newspaper that has done more than many in Europe to demonize genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

Written by an author who is no particular friend of GM seeds, ingredients or whole foods, and who ends the article by criticizing the companies like Monsanto that sell them, the article nonetheless casts a critical eye on many of the outright lies disseminated by certain NGOs, and to which the Reality-Check page of this blog is dedicated.

The article takes two of anti-GM NGOs’ main claims — that GMOS are unhealthy,  and that the research on GMOs can’t be trusted &#...

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Talking Nonsense at Sum of Us

MONS09_1729By Mark Buckingham, Monsanto Public Affairs

Agriculture is a practical business.

Farmers plant seeds in the soil and with skill, knowledge and the right tools, plus a favourable climate, bring in a harvest. That harvest yield is measured and tells the farmer if it has been a good season. There is no hiding the result or pretending crops performed differently to how they actually did.

Farming’s tradition of practicality and facts can make it hard to deal with the free-wheeling world of spin and politics that sometimes surrounds public discussion of GM crops.   The latest example of such spin comes from the online campaign machine “Sum of Us”.

Sum of Us launched a petition calling for people to oppose Monsanto’s Roundup Ready maize, which the group claims could be growing in Europe ...

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Monsanto, El Salvador, Seeds and U.S. Foreign Aid Policy: The Facts

Several articles have recently appeared online reporting false information about the U.S. Government’s aid agreement with El Salvador. These articles incorrectly implicate Monsanto in the agreement. They state that the U.S. government is pressuring El Salvador to purchase genetically modified (GMO) seeds from U.S. agricultural companies, particularly Monsanto.

This is blatantly false. And it is yet another example of an issue that has been laid at Monsanto’s door with no regard to facts, relevance or reality.

So what is actually going on?

The U.S. government, through the independent U.S. foreign aid agency, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), is in the process of signing a 5-year grant agreement with El Salvador...

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Nigerian paper sows misinformation on GM and hybrid seeds

On May 19, the The Guardian, a Nigerian newspaper, published a commentary alleging that genetically modified and even hybrid seeds are carcinogenic and “deadly.” The author of the commentary? A Nigerian architect with a self-professed “passion for geo-political sustainability, equity and fairness.”

Let’s leave aside the obvious question of whether architects, however qualified, should be considered authorities on anything other than building design. Many of the accusations in Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour’s rant lack any credible substantiation, or are just downright bizarre. For example, his claim that biotech tomatoes (which don’t exist, btw) can become toxic and cause cancer...

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Myth #8: Monsanto invented Agent Orange

False. Monsanto did not invent Agent Orange.

As we have explained in greater depth on our website and elsewhere, Agent Orange is the name given to the combination of two commercially available herbicides which had been used for decades before the Vietnam War. The former Monsanto, which was primarily a chemical company, along with 9 other companies, supplied the U.S. government these herbicides as part of the war effort. The combination of these herbicides is what the U.S. government named Agent Orange after the colour of the stripe put on the barrels that contained it. 

The nine Agent Orange manufacturers were government contractors acting at the direction of the government, which was exercising its authority under the U.S. War Powers Act...

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Myth #9: Monsanto hired security firm Blackwater to spy on critics

False! We have never hired Blackwater or its affiliates.

Like almost any big company, we monitor potential security threats by keeping an eye on websites and news reports. (Given how often our sites are invaded by various colours of extremists–four times at one French site last year alone!–it would be imprudent not to try to anticipate some of those incidents).

Sometimes we hire outside companies to help us. Between 2008 and 2010, we hired a company called Total Intelligence Solutions (TIS) to help us monitor publicly available information. An Internet story incorrectly reported that TIS was part of Blackwater.  And the myth lives on. But it is a myth.

[If you've heard any other stories about Monsanto that you suspect aren't true, check out our other blog entries in this series or downloa...

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