Documents released yesterday in a lawsuit against Monsanto have resulted in new questions about the company’s efforts to influence the news media and scientific research and revealed internal debate over the safety of its highest-profile product, the weed killer Roundup.
As the New York Times notes today, new internal emails, among other things, reveal ethical objections from former employees to “ghost writing” research studies that were pawned off as ‘independent’ analyses.
The documents underscore the lengths to which the agrochemical company goes to protect its image. Documents show that Henry I. Miller, an academic and a vocal proponent of genetically modified crops, asked Monsanto to draft an article for him that largely mirrored one that appeared under his name on Forbes’s website in 2015. Mr. Miller could not be reached for comment. A similar issue appeared in academic research. An academic involved in writing research funded by Monsanto, John Acquavella, a former Monsanto employee, appeared to express discomfort with the process, writing in a 2015 email to a Monsanto executive, ‘I can’t be part of deceptive authorship on a presentation or publication.’ He also said of the way the company was trying to present the authorship: ‘We call that ghost writing and it is unethical.’
The newly disclosed emails also reveal internal discussions which cast some doubt over whether internal scientists actually believed in the company’s external messaging that Roundup was, in fact, safe.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 2, 2017.