USRTK Calls for Investigation of Monsanto Cover Up, Harassment of USDA Scientists

U.S. Right to Know sent letters today to the chairs and ranking members of the U.S. Senate and House Agriculture Committees, and to the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, requesting aninvestigation of a possible cover up for Monsanto, and whether USDA scientists are being harassed when their work runs counter to the interests of the agrichemical industry.

The letters are in reaction to a March 27 Reuters article that, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, “some scientists working for the federal government are finding their research restricted or censored when it conflicts with agribusiness industry interests….at least 10 USDA scientists have been investigated or faced other consequences arising from research that called into question the safety of certain agricultural chemicals….Research into glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, and neonicotinoid insecticides, which have been linked to honey bee and monarch butterfly endangerment, face particular scrutiny…”

“If true, this is a major scandal at USDA. It is not the proper role of the USDA to engage in a cover up forMonsanto or other agrichemical companies,” wrote Gary Ruskin, executive director of consumer advocacy group U.S. Right to Know. “It is intolerable that the agribusiness and agrichemical should be able to interfere with USDAscientists and their work. Those scientists work for the public, not Monsanto nor the agrichemical industry. They must be fully insulated from the political pressure of the agribusiness and agrichemical industries. It is crucial tothe public interest that they do their work without industry harassment or obstruction. The integrity of the USDA is at stake.”

The letters urged the House and Senate Agriculture Committees and the USDA Inspector General to conduct full and thorough investigations into corporate interference with USDA scientists, to publicly release any evidence of industry interference with USDA scientists, and to ensure that such interference never happens again.

In January, U.S. Right to Know released a report – titled Seedy Business — on the chemical and food industry’s $100 million campaign to keep consumers in the dark about genetically engineered food: how they manipulated the media, public opinion, science and politics.

U.S. Right to Know is a new nonprofit food organization that investigates and reports on what food companies don’t want us to know about our food. For more information, please see our website at usrtk.org.