Would you like to know if the faculty at public universities, whose paychecks come out of your taxpayer dollars, are producing pro-GMO articles and studies at the request of public relations firms that work for companies like Monsanto?
We would. So would the nonprofit U.S. Right to Know (USRTK). That’s why the group filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests two weeks ago, asking for correspondence and emails to and from professors and scientists at public universities who wrote for the agrichemical industry’s website, GMO Answers.
According to USRTK:
We taxpayers deserve to know the details about when our taxpayer-paid employees front for private corporations and their slick PR firms. This is especially true when they do work for unsavory entities such as Ketchum, which has been implicated in espionage against nonprofit organizations.
Espionage? It’s true—and it’s all here in a recent report published by USRTK, Seedy Business.
The universities have been “rattled” by the requests, according to a report in Science Insider, which also reported that so far, one of the universities (at least four have received requests) has refused. USRTK asked for letters and emails exchanged after 2012 between the scientists and 14 companies and groups. The list includes Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont, Dow, Council for Biotechnology Information and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), and corporate PR firms including FleishmanHillard and Ogilvy & Mather.
The scientists—many of whom have publicly supported agricultural biotechnologies—are debating how “best to respond,” according toScience Insider. How about truthfully?