Last week, U.S. District Judge Mark E. Walker stood up for a free press and for journalists who investigate powerful corporations when he dismissed the defamation lawsuit brought by University of Florida Professor Kevin Folta against the New York Times and Eric Lipton, a three-time Pulitzer Prize winning journalist.
Lipton reported in 2015 that Monsanto recruited “white hat” academics, including Dr. Folta, to help defeat GMO labeling. Dr. Folta had publicly claimed he had no ties to Monsanto but emails obtained by public records requests, filed by U.S. Right to Know, revealed Dr. Folta was in frequent contact with Monsanto, had traveled to Hawaii on an industry-funded lobby trip, and had received a grant from Monsanto for his proposal to promote genetically engineered foods – ties that were not publicly disclosed. For more details:
- Eric Lipton’s front-page New York Times story, “Food industry enlisted academics in GMO labeling war, emails show” (Sept. 2015)
- USRTK fact sheet: lawsuit documents and more reporting on Dr. Folta
- Freedom of the Press Foundation: How corporations limit the use of FOIA against them (Feb. 2018)
One key question remains about Professor Kevin Folta’s lawsuit: Who paid for it?
Courtroom drama in Roundup hearings: Judge Vince Chhabria sanctioned the plaintiff’s lead attorney Aimee Wagstaff last week in the lawsuit to determine whether Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer caused a California man to develop cancer. Chhabria accused Wagstaff of intentionally violating his orders not to discuss certain studies. As evidence of intention, the judge said Wagstaff “braced herself” and appeared “very steely.” Read the transcripts and more trial news in Carey Gillam’s Roundup Trial Tracker. See also Carey’s Facebook video report of the first week of the trial.
More food news for our health:
- Group hopes courts will force U of S to release documents on Monsanto ties – Briarpatch Magazine
- Bayer faces mounting weedkiller lawsuits amid sweeping restructuring – Wall Street Journal
- City of Miami bans glyphosate to protect Biscayne Bay – Miami New Times
- Will an appeals court make the EPA ban a pesticide linked to serious health risks? – NPR
- Sri Lanka scientist blames industry as AAAS award for herbicide research is axed – Mongabay
- Government of Jamaica considers Roundup ban amid cancer fears – Jamaica Gleaner
- Some baby foods sold in Canada would be ‘illegal in Europe,’ arsenic testing shows – CBC
- The staggering decline of insects – CounterPunch
- The Denial Playbook: How industries manipulate science and policy from climate change to public health – congressional testimony of Professor David Michael
Confused about GMOs? Tufts Professor Sheldon Krimsky’s new book, GMOs Decoded: A Skeptic’s View of Genetically Modified Foods (MIT Press, 2019) is “a gift to anyone confused about genetically modified foods,” writes Marion Nestle in the foreword. Nestle describes the book as “exceptionally fair and even handed … Krimsky tells us that in researching this book, his own positions became less polarized and more nuanced. Reading it, mine did too. Now it’s your turn.”
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For our right to know,
Becky, Carey, Gary, Stacy