Sunday, July 11, 2010

lies, fines, and libel

Monsanto has been a bad boy again! And has got one little rap on the knuckles for its lying, legal wigglsomeness. Makes you wonder... a company that afford to pay $2.5 million as a fine, for a single misbranding episode on a single seed species... how large must the global food pie be and just how high the stakes? And if the stakes are really so high, how much lies will food companies tell?

No wonder food and agri companies are fighting so very hard to lobby for lax food labeling laws, to the extent of getting states in the USA to pass 'food slander' laws. Now you cannot point to a certain food and say its bad for your health, not unless you have pockets deep enough for a courtroom battle. It sets a dangerous precedent in my view.

I mean, in the past, Macdonald's has defended itself in court claiming to serve healthy food, while accusing activists of libel. "David Green, McDonald’s Senior Vice-President of Marketing (USA), stated 'McDonald's food is nutritious' and 'healthy'. When asked what the company meant by 'nutritious' he said: 'provides nutrients and can be a part of a healthy balanced diet'. He admitted this could also apply to a packet of sweets [candy]. When asked if Coca Cola is 'nutritious' he replied that it is 'providing water, and I think that is part of a balanced diet'. He agreed that by his definition Coke is ‘nutritious’. "

The case, incidentally, is known as Mclibel and for those who are keen, there's a website detailing the long legal battle. It is worthwhile reading if for no other reason than to be inspired by how two regular people with difficulties in their own personal and professional lives, who obviously had much better uses for their time and very limited reserves of money, chose to stand up for their beliefs, to see how they refused to get bullied by a big company with deep pockets, and how it is possible to win sometimes, even if you lose.

1 comment:

Bhagwad Jal Park said...

Ouch. I can say that McDonald's food is tasty, but to make it "part of your diet"?

This McDonald's burger was kept for one year without decomposing - showing how full of chemicals and preservatives it is - to such an extent that even bacteria don't want to eat it!

Shame on these corporates for trying to wriggle out of a fact that's so damn blindingly obvious to everyone!

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