Tracking the pesticide industry propaganda network

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Just four multinational corporations control more than half the global supply of seeds and pesticides. Public oversight of their activities is crucial for a safe and healthy food system. Yet these companies – Bayer (owner of Monsanto), Corteva (formerly DowDuPont), Syngenta and BASF – have long histories of manipulating science, hiding harm, and attacking scientists and journalists who raise concerns about their products. Since their records do not inspire trust, these companies rely on third-party allies for their PR and lobbying.

Our fact sheets shine light on this hidden propaganda network: Below, we name the front groups, academics and writers who help the agrichemical industry defend its pesticides and genetically engineered (GMO) seeds, most of which are designed to tolerate pesticides.

Our reporting is based on internal corporate and regulatory documents obtained via public records requests in a years-long investigation by U.S. Right to Know. Our investigation inspired a counter campaign by the pesticide industry which has tried to discredit our work. According to a Monsanto PR plan, “USRTK’s investigation will impact the entire industry.”

Report on pesticide industry disinformation

Our report Merchants of Poison is based on thousands of pages of internal Monsanto documents that reveal the disinformation and science-denial tactics Monsanto and Bayer used to defend glyphosate from cancer concerns. In the chapter Meet the Merchants of Poison, we examine the many “industry partners” the companies relied on, many of whom are profiled below. Read more in DeSmog, “Pesticide industry ‘helped write’ disinformation playbook used by Big Oil and Big Tobacco.”

Fact sheets on pesticide industry front groups and PR allies

Academics Review: The making of a Monsanto front group

AgBioChatter: Where corporations and academics plotted strategy on GMOs and pesticides

Alison Van Eenennaam: Key outside spokesperson and lobbyist for the agrichemical and GMO industries

American Council on Science and Health is a corporate front group

Bayer’s Shady PR Firms: FleishmanHillard and Ketchum PR

Biofortified aids chemical industry PR & lobbying efforts

Center for Food Integrity food and agrichemical industry PR partners

Cornell Alliance for Science is a public relations campaign at Cornell to promote GMOs

CBI, GMO Answers, CropLife: pesticide industry PR initiatives

David Tribe co-founder of front group Academics Review; founding board member Biofortified Inc.

Drew Kershen: agrichemical industry front group ringleader

Food Evolution GMO Documentary is a misleading propaganda film, say many academics

Geoffrey Kabat: ties to tobacco and chemical industry groups

Glyphosate Spin Check: tracking claims about the most-widely used herbicide

GMO Answers is a crisis management PR tool for GMOs & pesticides

Hank Campbell’s maze of Monsanto-loving science blogs

Henry I. Miller dropped by Forbes for Monsanto ghostwriting scandal

Independent Women’s Forum: Koch-funded group defends pesticide, oil, tobacco industries

International Food Information Council (IFIC): How Big Food spins bad news

International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) is a food industry lobby group, documents show

Jay Byrne: Meet the man behind the Monsanto PR machine

Jon Entine, Genetic Literacy Project: Key messengers for Monsanto, Bayer and the chemical industry

Keith Kloor: How a science journalist worked with industry allies behind the scenes

Kevin Folta’s misleading and deceptive claims

Mark Lynas of Cornell Alliance for Science deceptive and inaccurate promotions for the agrichemical industry’s commercial agenda

Monsanto’s campaign against transparency: “U.S. Right to Know communications plan”

Monsanto named these “industry partners” in its PR plan to confront glyphosate cancer ruling (2015)

Nina Federoff mobilized the authority of American science to back Monsanto

Pamela Ronald’s ties to chemical industry front groups

SciBabe says eat your pesticides, but who is paying her?

Science Media Centre promotes corporate views of science

Sense About Science/STATS spin science for industry

Tamar Haspel misleads readers of the Washington Post in her food columns

University of Saskatchewan: Peter Phillips secret “right to know” symposium

University of Saskatchewan: Stuart Smyth’s agrichemical industry ties and funding

Val Giddings: Former BIO VP is a top operative for the agrichemical industry

More front groups, trade groups and PR writers

BIO: biotech industry trade group

Center for Consumer Freedom

Crop Life International

International Life Sciences Institute

Julie Kelly

Kavin Senapathy/MAMMyths

Ketchum PR

U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance

If you like our work, please donate here to the Right to Know investigations.

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