In the natural health community, Monsanto is already infamous. It’s widely acknowledged that Roundup, Monsanto’s flagship product, carries many dangers, and that Monsanto has worked hard to cover them up.
But the story is somewhat different in the world of mainstream medicine and media. Here, Monsanto is often taken at face value; it is widely accepted that Roundup is safe, and that Monsanto simply wishes to engineer new methods for producing bounteous quantities of food for everyone.
Monsanto has of course stuck to this story all along, insisting that there’s nothing harmful about their product. In the company’s words, “the allegation that glyphosate can cause cancer in humans is inconsistent with decades of comprehensive safety reviews by the leading regulatory authorities around the world.” Even the Environmental Protection Agency supported this view, and most people believed it…until recently.
It just got harder to believe Monsanto’s lies
Let’s face it: no one wants to believe that corporations knowingly manufacture poisonous products that harm the environment and give us cancer, that such corporations tell bald-faced lies about these products in order to protect their bottom line, or that governmental agencies help protect these secrets.
It’s much easier simply to believe the official story until hard evidence arises. It all sounds like a conspiracy theory—that is, until a federal court releases documents demonstrating that all of these “allegations” are actually true.
The documents, unsealed as of February 27, 2017, are so incriminating that even mainstream media has grown to distrust Monsanto and its products—the New York Times and similar publications ran full stories about the controversy.
Here’s how the situation unfolded.
Health authorities, doctors, researchers, and citizens have been questioning Monsanto’s safety claims for years. Two years ago, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a brand of the World Health Organization, classified glyphosate (the main ingredient in Roundup) as “a probable human carcinogen.” We covered this growing movement in past articles.
Despite Monsanto’s continuous denial of research and panel findings indicating the health risks of glyphosate, a class action lawsuit was launched against the company. Monsanto also denies that the company is even being sued—nevertheless, the suit is ongoing. It is currently comprised of individuals who have been exposed to Roundup and have been diagnosed with cancer.
Judge Vince Chhabria of San Francisco’s Northern District of California (a United States District Court) has presided over the case. Throughout the early stages of the litigation, Judge Chhabria became increasingly concerned over Monsanto’s secrecy.
His own words speak volumes: “I have a problem with Monsanto because…it is insisting that stuff should be filed under seal when it should not be filed under seal.” Despite Monsanto’s numerous attempts to block the release of documents, email communications, and other records, Judge Chhabria insisted that materials “relevant to the litigation…shouldn’t be under seal,” even if they are “embarrassing to Monsanto.”
Embarrassing is an understatement. The documents reveal a number of noteworthy (and rather frightening) truths.
Monsanto was tipped off about the WHO’s classification of glyphosate. Email communications found in the documents revealed that Jess Rowland, a deputy division director at the EPA, warned Monsanto months before the World Health Organization announced its re-classification of glyphosate as a “probable carcinogen,” thus allowing the company to launch a huge attack against the finding before it was even public knowledge.
The EPA colluded with Monsanto to prevent a health review of glyphosate. Because of the WHO’s finding, the Department of Health and Human Services began to plan for its own independent review of glyphosate. The court released emails also show that Jess Rowland (the EPA deputy) promised to stop the review in its tracks—and sure enough, it never occurred.
Monsanto wrote its own research papers and forged credentials. If you thought it couldn’t get any worse, the court documents also suggest that Monsanto decided to ghostwrite its own research and pay credentialed academics to put their names on the papers. The company (as well as the academics who were mentioned by name) obviously denied the allegation, but the language used in the unsealed email correspondences is pretty clear. A Monsanto executive named William F. Heydens stated the following in one email: “We would be keeping the cost down by us doing the writing and they would just edit & sign their names so to speak.” He even referenced previous times that Monsanto had taken exactly this route.
Can Monsanto weather this public relations nightmare?
You would think that these revelations would be enough to destroy Monsanto’s public image, and thus their ongoing campaign to monopolize food production, poison the environment, and jeopardize our health.
But once again, people want to believe that Monsanto is telling the truth when they deny all of the allegations above.
It’s going to take time for public opinion to turn, especially as long as Monsanto has nearly unlimited power and resources at its disposal—but this litigation is a huge step in the right direction. You can follow its progress here.