Monsanto to Glenn Beck: We Are Not Evil and Sinister and Manipulative, Unlike You

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Glenn, it may look like something else, but really, sometimes corn is just corn. - Monsanto
Glenn, it may look like something else, but really, sometimes corn is just corn.
As Ian noted over on Gut Check, Senate Bill 510, the food safety bill, passed yesterday morning with a vote of 72 to 25. This, despite the best efforts of Glenn Beck. Beck took to the airwaves Monday night in a desperate, last-ditch attempt to rally his faithful viewers to call their senators and put an end to the food bill nonsense.

In typically restrained fashion (that is, practically frothing at the mouth), Beck proclaimed the food bill unnecessary because America has the healthiest food in the world -- apparently he's already forgotten last summer's salmonella outbreak and egg recall -- and that the legislation was the result of an evil collaboration between Beck's current favorite punching bag, investor George Soros, and St. Louis's Monsanto.

Was this maybe an effort to appeal to the Food, Inc. crowd, a demographic that despises Monsanto as much as Beck despises Soros? Do they even watch Fox News?

Back in August, Gut Check debunked most of the hysteria surrounding the food bill, including the claim that Monsanto would somehow be mysteriously exempt and even profit from the increased regulations on other food suppliers.

Monsanto itself has posted a statement on its blog which reads, in part:

Reports, including those by political commentator Glenn Beck, that Monsanto is behind Senate Bill 510, the so-called Food Safety Bill, are not true. As an agricultural company, we have been monitoring the bill for any impact on our ability to serve farmers who choose to buy our products. We have not supported its passage.

The agricultural behemoth issued a similar, but more complete, statement in September of 2009 when the House version of the food safety bill, HR 875, was up for a vote.

The most notable inaccuracy is the allegation that Monsanto is behind this bill. The reality is that Monsanto does not have a position on the bill....Nowhere in HR 875 is there any mention of seed banks, loss of property rights, or GPS tracking of animals. The bill seems to be nothing more than a well-intentioned effort to improve food safety laws and processes. It was no doubt written in response to public concerns with relatively recent incidents with peanut butter, ground beef, spinach, etc.

The likely root of the offending blog post is a concern that food laws will make it more difficult to sell and process food that is grown locally. That is a legitimate concern -- especially for small enterprises that would be hurt disproportionately by the fixed costs of regulation that larger businesses can spread across more revenue.

It is uncertain whether HR 875 would be effective at improving food safety, or whether it would create unreasonable burdens on local production and sale.

As for Soros, while his hedge fund, Soros Fund Management, has invested heavily in Monsanto, "Mr. Soros has no role in our day-to-day operations," says Monsanto spokesman John Combest.

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