“Seedy Business”

In a recent reportScreen Shot 2015-10-18 at 5.09.33 PM titled “Seedy Business: What Big Food is hiding with its slick PR campaign on GMOs,” Gary Ruskin, Executive Director of the U.S Right to Know, an organization that works to expose the failures of the corporate food system, outlined 15 things that Big Food is trying to hide from the public. Among other things, the report discusses the agrichemical industry’s history of dishonest behavior; their use of PR tactics similar to those previously used by the tobacco industry; their ability to control politics, science, and farmers with their massive amounts of money; and their ceaseless pursuit of profit at the expense of consumers.

While outlining the things that the agrichemical industry is working hard to conceal, the report also discusses the things that consumers are trying to uncover. It discusses a growing lack of trust among potential consumers, and the resulting potential regulatory policies that could have negative effects on the industry’s profits, such as the mandatory labeling of foods containing GMOs. The lack of trust also puts the industry in a position remarkably similar to that of the tobacco industry of the 1950s to 1980s. Ruskin describes the similarities between these two industries by saying that each industry is “a powerful and profitable industry facing doubts and questions about the health risks of its products.” He goes on to say that the agrichemical industry’s response to their being in this position has also been similar; they are “creating a strong political and public relations defense, as well as lobbying efforts to turn back any policy or initiative that would curtail their profits.”

It is clear that the agrichemical industry works extremely hard to ensure that their products are viewed in a positive light. However, AGRA Watch and its partners do not trust companies whose business models depend on them concealing their impact on human health and the environment. Ruskin concludes his report by saying, “We have a right and a duty to demand truth. We have the right to know what is in our food, and how it affects our health.” AGRA Watch agrees.

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