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Monsanto: The World's Poster Child for Corporate Manipulation and Deceit - Part 5

Jul 28, 2010 | Updated May 25, 2011

When Forbes magazine declared Monsanto as the Company of the Year for 2009, millions of surprised people were forced to reevaluate their opinions about a major corporation. Now they no longer trust Forbes.

Monsanto is one of the most despised corporations on earth. This is the fifth in a series of articles that expose their not-so-hidden dark side and how, if unrestrained, Monsanto could unleash a cataclysm. Indeed, it has already started...

Part 5 of 10

Methods used by Monsanto to hide problems are varied and plentiful. For example, researchers:

  • Use animals with varied starting weights, to hinder the detection of food-related changes
  • Keep feeding studies short, to miss long-term impacts
  • Test Roundup Ready soybeans that have never been sprayed with Roundup--as they always are in real world conditions
  • Avoid feeding animals the GM crop, but instead give them a single dose of GM protein produced from GM bacteria
  • Use too few subjects to obtain statistical significance
  • Use poor or inappropriate statistical methods, or fail to even mention statistical methods, or include essential data
  • Employ insensitive detection techniques--doomed to fail

Monsanto's 1996 Journal of Nutrition study, which was their cornerstone article for "proving" that GM soy was safe, provides plenty of examples of masterfully rigged methods:

  • Researchers tested GM soy on mature animals, not the more sensitive young ones. GMO safety expert Arpad Pusztai says the older animals "would have to be emaciated or poisoned to show anything."
  • Organs were never weighed.
  • The GM soy was diluted up to 12 times which, according to an expert review, "would probably ensure that any possible undesirable GM effects did not occur."
  • The amount of protein in the feed was "artificially too high," which would mask negative impacts of the soy.
  • Samples were pooled from different locations and conditions, making it nearly impossible for compositional differences to be statistically significant.
  • Data from the only side-by-side comparison was removed from the study and never published. When it was later recovered, it revealed that Monsanto's GM soy had significantly lower levels of important constituents (e.g. protein, a fatty acid, and phenylalanine, an essential amino acid) and that toasted GM soy meal had nearly twice the amount of a lectin--which interferes with the body's ability to assimilate nutrients. Moreover the amount of trypsin inhibitor, a known soy allergen, was as much as seven times higher in cooked GM soy compared to a cooked non-GM control. Monsanto named their study, "The composition of glyphosate-tolerant soybean seeds is equivalent to that of conventional soybeans."
A paper published in Nutrition and Health analyzed all peer-reviewed feeding studies on GM foods as of 2003. It came as no surprise that Monsanto's Journal of Nutrition study, along with the other four peer-reviewed animal feeding studies that were "performed more or less in collaboration with private companies," reported no negative effects of the GM diet. "On the other hand," they wrote, "adverse effects were reported (but not explained) in [the five] independent studies." They added, "It is remarkable that these effects have all been observed after feeding for only 10-14 days."

A former Monsanto scientist recalls how colleagues were trying to rewrite a GM animal feeding study, to hide the ill-effects. But sometimes when study results are unmistakably damaging, Monsanto just plain lies. Monsanto's study on Roundup, for example, showed that 28 days after application, only 2% of their herbicide had broken down. They nonetheless advertised the weed killer as "biodegradable," "leaves the soil clean," and "respects the environment." These statements were declared false and illegal by judges in both the US and France. The company was forced to remove "biodegradable" from the label and pay a fine.

International bestselling author and filmmaker Jeffrey M. Smith is the executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology. His first book, Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies About the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You're Eating, is the world's bestselling and #1 rated book on GMOs. His second, Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, documents 65 health risks of the GM foods Americans eat everyday. Both are distributed by Chelsea Green Publishing. To help you choose healthier, non-GMO brands, use the Non-GMO Shopping Guide.