Why You Can’t Trust Henry Miller

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Henry I. Miller is perhaps the most prolific and best-known apologist for genetically engineered food and crops. He is a fellow at the right leaning Hoover Institution[1] and was the founding director of the FDA’s Office of Biotechnology. Miller has written numerous articles and op-eds in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Forbes and other news outlets in support of genetically engineered food, against labeling GMOs and in opposition to organic food. [2] He was featured in TV advertisements against Proposition 37, a ballot initiative for labeling of genetically engineered food in the State of California.[3]

Miller’s bio on the Forbes website proclaimed: “I debunk junk science and flawed public policy.”[4] However, during the course of his life, Miller himself has often presented an agile defense of junk science and flawed public policy.

Monsanto Ghostwriting / Dropped by Forbes

In August 2017, after revelations that Miller asked Monsanto to ghostwrite an article for him and published the work under his own name, Forbes removed all articles authored by Miller and severed its relationship with him.

According to an August 2017 New York Times article:

  • Documents show that Henry I. Miller asked Monsanto to draft an article for him that largely mirrored one that appeared under his name on Forbes’s website in 2015. Forbes removed the story from its website on Wednesday and said that it ended its relationship with Mr. Miller amid the revelations.

Retraction Watch further reported:

  • Mia Carbonell, senior VP of global communications at Forbes, told Retraction Watch that it has pulled down all of Miller’s articles on its site, because he violated the terms of his contract: “All contributors to Forbes.com sign a contract requiring them to disclose any potential conflicts of interest and only publish content that is their own original writing.  When it came to our attention that Mr. Miller violated these terms, we removed all of his posts from Forbes.com and ended our relationship with him.”

In the emails, posted here, Eric Sachs of Monsanto asked Miller to write about the decision by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) to list glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen. Miller replied, “I would be if I could start from a high-quality draft.” Sachs provided a “still quite rough” draft article which he described to Miller as “a good start for your magic.”

The rough draft appeared a few days later, largely unchanged, in this Forbes column that appeared under Miller’s name.

Forbes has also removed articles co-written with Miller by Julie Kelly and Kavin Senapathy, who also frequently write in defense of pesticides and GMOs and attack scientists and journalists who raise concerns.


Defending the tobacco industry

  • In a 1994 APCO Associates PR strategy memo to help Phillip Morris organize a global campaign to fight tobacco regulations, Henry Miller was referred to as “a key supporter” of these pro-tobacco industry efforts.[5]
  • In 2012, Miller wrote that “nicotine … is not particularly bad for you in the amounts delivered by cigarettes or smokeless products.”[6]

Denying climate change

  • Miller is a member of the “scientific advisory board” of the George C. Marshall Institute,[7] which is famous for its oil and gas industry funded denials of climate change.[8]

Defending the pesticide industry

  • Miller defended the use of widely-criticized neonicotinoid pesticides and claimed that “the reality is that honeybee populations are not declining.”[9]
  • Miller has repeatedly argued for the re-introduction of DDT, a toxic pesticide banned in the United States since 1972, which has been linked to pre-term birth and fertility impairment in women.[10]

Attacking the organic industry

  • Miller’s recent activities include numerous attacks on the organic industry, including “The Colossal Hoax of Organic Agriculture” (Forbes), “Organic Farming is Not Sustainable” (Wall Street Journal) and “The Dirty Truth About Organic Produce” (Newsweek).
  • In May 2017, Miller claimed, “Organic agriculture is to the environment what cigarette smoking is to human health.” 

Defending exposure to radiation from nuclear power plants

  • In 2011, after the Japanese tsunami and radiation leaks at the Fukushima nuclear power plants, Miller argued in Forbes that “those … who were exposed to low levels of radiation could have actually benefitted from it.”[11] At that time, he even penned an article titled “Can radiation be good for you?”[12]

Defending the plastics industry

  • In an article in Forbes, Miller defended the use of the endocrine disruptor bisphenol A (BPA), which is banned in Europe and Canada for use in baby bottles.[13]

Henry Miller’s other activities

  • Miller was a trustee of the infamous industry front group American Council for Science and Health, according to the ACSH website.[14]

Excerpted from Seedy Business: What Big Food is Hiding With Its Slick PR Campaign on GMOs


[1] Miller is the “the Robert Wesson Fellow in Scientific Philosophy and Public Policy at the Hoover Institution.” See bio.

[2] See, for example, Jayson Lusk and Henry I. Miller, “We Need G.M.O. Wheat.” New York Times, February 2, 2014. Henry I. Miller and Gregory Conko, “General Mills Has a Soggy Idea for Cheerios.” Wall Street Journal, January 20, 2014. Henry I. Miller, “India’s GM Food Hypocrisy.” Wall Street Journal, November 28, 2012. Henry I. Miller, “Organic Farming Is Not Sustainable.” Wall Street Journal, May 15, 2014. Henry I. Miller, “More Crop for the Drop.” Project Syndicate, August 7, 2014. Henry Miller, “California’s Anti-GMO Hysteria.” National Review, March 31, 2014. Henry I. Miller, “Genetic Engineering and the Fight Against Ebola.” Wall Street Journal, August 25, 2014. Henry I. Miller, “Salmon Label Bill Should Be Thrown Back.” Orange County Register, April 4, 2011. Henry I. Miller, “GE Labels Mean Higher Costs.” San Francisco Chronicle, September 7, 2012. Gregory Conko and Henry Miller, “Labeling Of Genetically Engineered Foods Is a Losing Proposition.” Forbes, September 12, 2012. Gregory Conko and Henry I. Miller, “A Losing Proposition on Food Labeling.” Orange County Register, October 11, 2012. Henry I. Miller and Bruce Chassy, “Scientists Smell A Rat In Fraudulent Genetic Engineering Study.” Forbes, September 25, 2012. Jay Byrne and Henry I. Miller, “The Roots of the Anti-Genetic Engineering Movement? Follow the Money!Forbes, October 22, 2012.

Miller articles removed from Forbes include: Henry I. Miller and Julie Kelly, “How Organic Agriculture Evolved from Marketing Tool to Evil Empire,” Forbes, Dec. 2, 2015; Henry I. Miller and Julie Kelly, “Federal Subsidies to Organic Agriculture Should be Plowed Under,” Forbes, July 12, 2017;  Henry I. Miller and Julie Kelly, “Government Favors and Subsidies to Organic Agriculture: Follow the Money,” Forbes, Sept. 23, 2015.

[3] See, for example, Marc Lifsher, “TV Ad Against Food Labeling Initiative Proposition 37 Is Pulled.” Los Angeles Times, October 4, 2012. Eric Van Susteren, “Stanford Demands Anti-Prop. 37 Ad Be Changed.” Palo Alto Weekly, October 17, 2012.

[4] Forbes, Henry Miller bio and articles page.

[5] Memorandum from Tom Hockaday and Neal Cohen of Apco Associates Inc. to Matt Winokur, “Thoughts on TASSC Europe.” March 25, 1994. Legacy Tobacco Documents Library, University of California, San Francisco. Bates No. 2024233595-2024233602.

[6] Henry I. Miller and Jeff Stier, “The Cigarette Smokescreen.” Defining Ideas, March 21, 2012.

[7] Competitive Enterprise Institute, Henry Miller bio.

[8] See, for example, the profile of the George C. Marshall Institute in DeSmogBlog.

[9] Henry I. Miller, “Why the Buzz About a Bee-pocalypse Is a Honey Trap.” Wall Street Journal, July 22, 2014.

[10] Henry I. Miller, “Re-Booting DDT.” Project Syndicate, May 5, 2010. Henry I. Miller, “Rachel Carson’s Deadly Fantasies.” Forbes, September 5, 2012.

[11] Henry I. Miller, “Can Tiny Amounts Of Poison Actually Be Good For You?” Forbes, December 21, 2011.

[12] Henry I. Miller, “Can Radiation Be Good For You?Project Syndicate, April 8, 2011.

[13] Henry I. Miller, “BPA Is A-OK, Says FDA.” Forbes, March 12, 2014.

[14]The Buzz About a Bee-pocalyse Is a Honey Trap.” American Council on Science and Health, July 23, 2014.