This is a small inquiry about “Who Benefits?”. Regarding the now-retracted PLOS blog piece “The Fight Over Transparency: Round Two”, I have been puzzling over the authors’ motivations. Who benefits from the authors’ PLOS and LA Times articles? Could it be Whole Foods Markets? Could it be little companies like Nestle, Coca Cola, PepsiCo?
Given the emotion-charged dispute about the safety of GMO food I am very keen to know where authors Thacker and Seife stand regarding mandatory GMO labeling. I.e., food products that include substances derived from designed DNA. For example:
- What evidence can you offer for the hypothesis that you are both neutral, disinterested parties? Or better, evidence that supports the claim that you agree with the global scientific consensus on the safety of current GMO crops?
Why did Gary Ruskin turn over to you emails surrendered under FOIA? Ruskin heads up US-RTK, which represents organic industry interests. Therefore it is reasonable to assume that Ruskin believed you would generate publicity that was favorable to the organic financial interests. Is there some innocent reason Ruskin would give you these emails?
Can you explain why you did not contact Dr. Kevin Folta for fact-checking and comment on what you were preparing to publish in PLOS?
In your LA Times op-ed you wrote:
…sometimes the bullies have a point. A few months back, the Union of Concerned Scientists called out a small nonprofit funded by organic food growers for sending FOIA requests to several dozen pro-GMO scientists; it claimed that the requests were inappropriate and implied that they constituted harassment.
It’s just plain dishonest to call US-RTK a “small nonprofit”. Could you please justify why you put your reputations on the line to make such a claim? Bear in mind that we know some of Gary Ruskin’s backers when campaigning for mandatory labeling in just a single state (California Proposition 37). Does this look like the financing of a “small nonprofit”? And are these funders you want to be close to?
UPDATE 8/27/15 11:29 PM I’ve revised the tabulation of Prop 37 backers to the most final version I could find.
My question today: who are all the financial backers of the “small nonprofit” US-RTK? Is it much the same special interests who backed California Proposition 37? Did you know you were associating with big donor quacks like Joe Mercola (Mercola.com) and Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps All-One-God-Faith? Do you think the organic interests might want to spend a Whole Lot More to win a US-wide mandatory labeling statue than they spent on a single state?
Conclusion: we know “Who Benefits” from the Thacker and Seife PLOS/LA Times articles. We don’t know why you wrote these pieces. We don’t know why you were given FOIA emails. We don’t know whether you are pro- or anti-GE food crops. But, we do know that it looks like a great opportunity for the authors to practice Transparency in their own house!