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?
I am very keen to know where authors Thacker and Seife stand regarding mandatory GMO labeling. Why? Because their articles supported USRTK.org, an activist operation funded by organic industry lobby Organic Consumers Association. USRTK is in the business of
- passing US federal mandatory GMO labeling legislation;
- fomenting fear of foods derived from modern genertic engineering
Perhaps it is an accident that their articles were so helpful to the organic industry interests. I think we have a right to know whether the authors are neutral?
- What evidence can you offer for the hypothesis that you are neutral, disinterested parties?
- What evidence demonstrates that you agree with the global scientific consensus on the safety of current GMO crops?
- Why did USRTK turn over to you emails obtained under FOIA? The only reason I can imagine is that Gary Ruskin, head of USTRK believed you would generate publicity that was favorable to the organic financial interests.
- Can you explain why you did not contact Dr. Kevin Folta for fact-checking and comment on the since-retracted article that you were preparing to publish in PLOS?
As another example of apparent bias in favor of the organic industry — in your LA Times op-ed you wrote:
…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’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? When Gary Ruskin was running an earlier state-level campaign for mandatory GMO labeling (California Proposition 37) the financial backing was public information. Does this look like the financing of a “small nonprofit”? Note that the biggest backer for GMO labeling isn’t Big Organic, it is Big Quacka (Joe Mercola who promotes “natural products” quackery):
My question today: who are all the financial backers of the “small nonprofit” USRTK? Is it much the same special interests who backed California Proposition 37? Your followers have a right to know whether USRTK is a front for big-donor quacks like Joe Mercola (Mercola.com) and Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps All-One-God-Faith? I have trouble understanding your representation of USRTK as a “small nonprofit” when it is obvious that Ruskin’s 2012 Prop 37 backers will be happy to spend many multiples of the $9.2 million to win national mandatory labeling.
Conclusion: it’s obvious “Who Benefits” from the Thacker and Seife PLOS/LA Times articles. But 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 this is a perfect opportunity for the authors to practice Transparency in their own house!