Line 4Line 4 Copyic/close/grey600play_circle_outline - material

Answers

Question

Monsanto has a history of producing promoting dangerous chemicals and lying about their safety. For example, they started producing PCBs in the 1920s, knew they were dangerous by 1956 (as later proven by internal company memos), and covered up the truth for 23 years until PCBs were banned by the US Congress in 1979. PCBs, which can cause cancer, liver disease, and neurological disorders, still show up in the blood of pregnant women, according to a 2011 study. Another famous example is the insecticide DDT, which Monsanto insisted was safe from 1944 until it was banned in 1972 due to overwhelming research confirming its toxicity. (Source: http://gmo-awareness.com/2011/05/12/monsanto-dirty-dozen/ ) Why should we trust that Monsanto is not doing the same thing with GMOs: lying about their safety, covering up unfavorable research, and hiring scientists to tell only one side of the story, as the company did for decades with PCBs and DDT?

Submitted by: mmacauley


Answer

Expert response from Kevin Folta

Professor and Chairman, Horticultural Sciences Department, University of Florida

Friday, 10/10/2014 12:18

There are two ways to answer this. The first is sort of a copout, but it's true — the Monsanto Company is not the same company. It is a plant breeding and genetic improvement company now. The chemical end of the enterprise was sold off a long time ago, I don't remember the details, but they are easy to find. 

 

Moderator Note: Learn more about the history of Monsanto Company by reading this response.

 

The better answer is this: When we look back at issues like DDT or PCBs, from any company it was public scientists who pointed out the issues. There is no way that any company can hide information, especially when it is being grown on a jillion acres worldwide. Finding a problem with GM crops — a real problem from good research that is reproducible — would change agriculture. It would be Nobel Prize material. There's lots of incentive to find a problem. 

There is a lot of research done, independent research too. And clearly, "unfavorable research" does get published, so there is no conspiracy.

 

The most important point is that you have to reach back 50 years to find objectionable chemicals, long since banned or highly regulated. It sort of supports the idea that nobody is getting away with marketing dangerous products.