Astroturf Alert: Afact Fights Absence Labeling


TreeHugger covered Monsanto's lobbying to ban labels that say "no artificial growth hormones" or "absence labeling" that might "confuse the public" in our post Pennsylvania DOA ; Sarah Snow wrote about it in Green Eyes On: Sour Milk. Monsanto has now hired a Colorado flack and an St. Louis advertising firm to set up a "grass-roots organization" with a website that says it was "organized by farmers frustrated by the loss of safe and valuable management tools with no scientific justification and no economic compensation," such as Monsanto's bovine growth hormone Posilac.

Afact's website is a masterpiece of doublespeak:

"Through questionable labeling tactics and activism, marketers have convinced some consumers to doubt the credibility and safety assurances from of even the most respected food safety agencies and scientific oversight organizations. As a result, confused consumers shy away from foods produced using new technology, which in turn forces valuable management tools from the hands of farmers and ranchers."

Translation in Andrew Martin's article in the New York Times, quoting consultant Monte Miller:

Afact believes that the push for milk from untreated cows is being driven by advocates like Consumers Union and PETA, "who make a profit, living and business by striking fear in citizens," Mr. Miller said in an e-mail message.

Martin concludes:

The group also believes it will be hard for food retailers to "move away from the rBST-free stance without legislation and government policy," according to an Afact presentation to dairy farmers in January.

In the presentation, Afact also listed "integrity," "honesty" and "transparent" as "words we wish to embody."

They could start by being more straightforward about who is behind Afact. ::New York Times

Fortunately, if you have a problem with milk from cows shot up with rBGH, which has been linked to higher incidence of breast and colon cancers in humans, you can always move; it is banned in Canada, the European Union, Japan, and Australia.