Dr. Jonathan Lundgren

Dr Jonathan Lundgren of USDA-ARS (right) with CIAT entomologist Dr Kris Wyckhuys. Image source.

Independent GMO research is trashed: scientists hounded & silenced

Alliance for Human Research Protection


Numerous new medicines and medical devices have been marketed with claims that declare them to be “safe and effective” – which is a compelling marketing slogan, though devoid of scientific proof. Such claims are facilitated by collusion between the pharmaceutical industry and authoritative government agencies, aided by leading scientists (“key opinion leaders” known within industry as KOLs) and renowned scientific institutions.

Internal FDA documents confirm that genetic engineered/modified food products (widely known as GMOs), entered the U.S. food supply without having been subjected to scientifically rigorous safety tests as is mandated by law.

GMOs entered the market through the perversion of science, the corruption of government by politically appointed bureaucrats whose allegiance was with industry.  (Read AHRP Post How Monsanto Rigged the System through politics and propaganda)  In 2003, a congressional committee report, documented political interference and manipulation of scientific research at federal agencies charged with developing science-based public health policies.

The War against honest scientists who question the science & safety of GMOs

Scientific disagreements about the safety of GMOs quickly devolve into ad hominem attacks; and scientists who dare to question the scientific basis for declaring GMOs safe, are quickly ostracized, marginalized, discredited and relegated to the ranks of pervaders of “junk science.” They are subjected to vicious personal attacks, and smear campaigns.

A major hurdle hampering independent scientists from studying the impact of GM seeds and pesticides is industry’s refusal to share either the ingredients of its products for independent analysis or to disclose its own safety data, by invoking patent protection. What’s more, pesticide manufacturers are required to disclose only the chemical structure of their declared “active” ingredients, while concealing the identity of the adjuvants, which they claim are confidential, proprietary information.

Industry has thereby erected a wall of secrecy. For many years no one knew what other chemicals in addition to glyphosate were in products such as Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup, let alone how these chemicals might affect either health or the environment.

Dr. Jonathan Lundgren is a prominent scientist (entomologist) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) who ran his own lab at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) for eleven years. He is the author of almost 100 peer-reviewed articles published in scientific journals and was himself a peer reviewer of dozens of articles.

Dr. Lundgren is the recipient of the 2011 Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers. His expertise is risk assessment of pesticides and genetically modified crops. “Bees are vital to U.S. agriculture, pollinating foods that make up roughly a third, and the most nutritious portion, of our diet, such as fruits and leafy greens.”

In 2012, Dr. Lundgren published a report in the Journal of Pest-Science. His findings suggested that a class of widely used pesticides called neonicotinoids (manufactured by Bayer), not only did not improve soybean yields, they harmed butterflies. Their overuse and lack of crop diversity are to blame for the dwindling honeybee population.  In 2014, he served on a panel of independent scientists convened by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to assess the risks of Monsanto’s new RNA interference technology. The panelreport echoed the assessment of Dr. Lundgren’s paper. Another article, published inThe Science of Nature (2015) suggested that the pesticide ingredient clothianidin could function as a stressor reducing the monarch butterfly populations.

Dr. Lundgren’s research drew national attention. Soon after, he was invited by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to present his research findings about the effects of genetically modified crops on farmland ecology. But Dr. Lundgren’s research was anathema to Monsanto and Bayer as well as to the USDA.

USDA officials prevented Dr. Lundgren from attending the NAS conference as he was literally about to board the plane.  He says, “I am not even anti-GMO or anti-pesticide. I just believe that if there are safer methods they should be used first. If you do things right, you don’t need them.”

His scientific work “triggered an official campaign of harassment, hindrance, and retaliation” from his superiors at the USDA who attempted to muzzle him by suspending him twice; whereupon he filed a complaint with the federal Merit System Protection Board, stating that his superiors at the USDA “impede or deter his research and resultant publications.” USDA officials even interfered with his ability to review the research of other scientists. His case was reported by The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Mother Jones.

Read the full article at Alliance for Human Research Protection


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