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From Bill Dunbar <awanka@ionet.net>
Subject: Ya gotta have a score card
Date: Fri, 11 Dec 1998 19:17:07 -0600

See Also: Revolving Doors: Monsanto and the Regulators, The Ecologist, 9/98

Monsanto's Washington Links

"Monsanto should not have to vouch for the safety of biotech food," said Phil Angell, Monsanto's director of corporate communications. "Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the FDA's job."

Drone of Citizen Monsanto, Supreme Lobbyist at FDA
New York Times Corporation, October 25, 1998



Just to understand the score, ya gotta have a score card.

Soooo.... is it any wonder that the "Monsanto team" was awarded the "National Medal of Technology" established by Congress in 1980 to "honor innovation."

Monsanto Researchers Win National Technology Award
Wed 09 Dec 1998 Knight-Ridder Tribune
By Robert Steyer
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Four Monsanto Co. scientists have won the National Medal of Technology, an award established by Congress in 1980 to honor innovation. The Monsanto team won the award for its work in developing and commercializing genetically engineered crops. The team was among five winners announced Tuesday by the White House.

"Their efforts have created jobs and better goods and services," said William M. Daley, the U.S. Commerce Secretary, in announcing the technology medal winners. "By honoring them, we inspire future generations to stand upon their shoulders and create the technologies that will drive tomorrow's economy."


Hey!? And all the time they've been assuring us that their motives are to give consumers "quality, safety, and taste in their food choices," and to "stave off global hunger, assure environmental quality, preserve bio-diversity, and promote health and food safety." (Monsanto's United Kingdom Web Site)

Hmmmm... they're doin' it to "drive" the economy? <scratching head>

Somehow that doesn't fit with other headlines that say they're cutting 2,500 jobs!

But then they have created a bunch of jobs for the Pinkertons who are madly searching farms for evidence of seed saving!

awanka@ionet.net
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Subject: Guardian (London) writes about Monsanto political clout
Date: 20 Feb 1999 01:02:50 GMT
From: MichaelP <papadop@peak.org>
Newsgroups: misc.activism.progressive


Biotech food giant wields power in Washington
John Vidal on the politics of the GM food industry

Guardian (London), Thursday February 18, 1999

While European scientists, politicians, and pressure groups furiously debate the merits of GM foods, there is barely any discussion in the US, the home of the $50-billion-a-year bio-technelogy industry.

The US government, which actively promotes the industry worldwide and accepts millions of dollars a year from Monsanto and other companies, maintains there is no health or environmental risk.

But the foods have been introduced with very few people being aware of them, and Monsanto, the leading food revolution company, is widely regarded as one of the world's most innovative, successful and responsible companies.

It employs 25,000 people, including 1,900 scientists, gives freely to charities and foundations, and pays for science theme parks.

It is a hero on Wall Street where in the four years since its visionary chief executive, Bob Shapiro, took over and started launchung its GM products on the world market, it has seen its share price soar and its market capitalisation grow to more than $26 billion.

The science-friendly corporate image of environmental responsibility has been built on its very close links to political parties, say Monsanto critics. The company is one of three big funders of Clinton's Welfare-to-Work programme, and there is a constant exchange of staff between the government, the company and the regulatory bodies.

Its access to power is barely questioned. Scientists are widely trusted and what is good for corporations is seen as good for everyone. A Monsanto board member chaired Clinton's presidential campaign.

Another senior executive mapped US pesticide policy, and a third was a top Clinton aide. The company also donates heavily to both main political parties and pays lobbyists to represent its interests at every point.

Like other corporations it quite legally gives money to congressmen who sit on food safety and regulatory committees.

Betty Martini, of the consumer group, Mission Possible, which watches Monsanto's activities in the US, said: `The Food and Drug Administration, which regulates the US food industry, is so closely linked to the biotech industry now that it could be described as their Washington branch office.'

Monsanto executives agree that they work closely with the government but say that the regulatory system is based on sound science. `It's tough to get anything through', says a company spokesman.

The company, with other biotech firms, paved the way for public acceptance of GM technology up to 10 years ago by preparing `educational' information for schools and investing heavily in science museums.

Meanwhile it and other companies were lobbying global organisations to prohibit the worldwide labelling of GM foods. US embassies around the world are known to lobby for the industry in most countries

But the first stirrings of revolt are now being heard. US activists are targeting company chiefs, and the powerful Union of Concerned Scientists is calling for more caution.

The health and environmental risks are under-appreciaed, says Dr Marion Mellon of the UCS. `Billions of dollars have been devoted to developing the technology but few resources have been put into understanding its effects.'

Meanwhile unexpected environmental results in the US are worrying farmers, and the rapidly growing healthfood and organic farming industry. This month, 89,000 packets of organic tortilla chips had to be destroyed after being found to contain GM organisms. It is believed that they were `contaminated' by a nearby field of GM maize.

The US requires that no GM foods be labelled, and allows biotech companies to largely police themselves. After heavy lobbying, the biotech industry has persuaded 14 states to pass laws to prevent the `spreading of false and damaging information about food'.

The heavily subsidised US food industry is thought to be worth more than $300 billion a year and its acceptance of the GM revolution is almost complete. Fifty million acres of land was grown with GM crops, last year in the US, much of it soyabean and maize.

Acreage is expected to double within two years and grow exponentially for at least five years.

** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. **


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