Vegans and Monsanto: Odd Bedfellows for Bee Death and Glyphosate

John W. Roulac
6 min readJul 15, 2018

In a strange twist, Monsanto and Silicon Valley are now using the vegan movement to justify ecosystem destruction. This dollar-driven endeavor is happening under the cuddly moniker of “plant-based foods.”

Most vegans seek pure, nutrient-dense, organic foods. Yet they’re being fooled by misleading claims made by a powerful duo: ideologues who hate the meat industry and Silicon Valley mercenaries funded by Wall Street. It’s time to unite the plant-based and regenerative movements.

Five Facts on Food:

1. Industrial Ag is the leading cause of climate change.

2. Industrial beef contributes by far the largest slice of Ag GHG emissions.

3. The Monsanto/Bayer/DuPont monoculture system of corn, soy, wheat, and canola sprayed with glyphosate and fertilized with synthetic nitrogen is the leading cause of ocean dead zones, soil health decline, and habitat destruction.

4. Bad vegan foods are BAD for people and the planet.

5. Monsanto glyphosate is now found in 75% of rainfall samples, in most conventional foods, in breast milk, and in American blood samples.

The exhibit A for deception is the latest “better for you” 300-million-dollar food ploy featuring the genetically engineered, industrially grown, soil-depleting, glyphosate-sprayed wheat- protein Impossible Burger (“IB”) sold by Impossible Foods.

Regenerate the Earth

Regenerative Agriculture is a system of farming principles and practices that increases biodiversity, enriches soils, improves watersheds, and enhances ecosystem services. Both vegan and Paleo can be regenerative — or NOT.

The Guardian published an excellent article, “Big meat and big dairy’s climate emissions put Exxon Mobil to shame,” in which was stated:

‘The world needs to urgently invest in a transition to food systems that hinge on small-scale producers, agroecology, and local markets.

“These systems provide for moderate levels of meat and dairy, but they do so in a way that regenerates soils and provides livelihoods to rural and urban communities.”

A powerful new documentary film ‘Kiss the Ground’ on regenerative ag and soil health will be released at the end of 2018.

The Dark Side of Fake Meat

You trust the tech sector with your personal data, right? Will you trust them with the food you ingest? IB mistakenly claim their vegan burgers are a better option regarding climate change and people’s health vs. a 100% grass-fed burger grown using sunlight and grass. The later method is regenerative and the former is degenerative in terms of soil, water and biodiversity. The main IB protein is derived from chemically grown wheat. Wheat-grower practices cause major soil erosion and pollinator death.

Organic industry expert Max Goldberg, who as one of the first journalists in the country to uncover the controversial practices of Impossible Foods has experienced its aggressive public relations tactics first-hand, says, “Whenever someone highlights the actual truth of what has happened at the company, the first thing it does is put up the ‘anti-science’ banner. It is PR strategy 101 at GMO companies — to distract the consumer from the truth by trying to discredit the critic.”

In Goldberg’s in-depth piece about Impossible Foods and how the company is misleading consumers, he shares the following information, which never would have come to light if it were not for the FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests filed by nonprofit watchdog groups:

And this is the absolutely critical piece of information which Impossible Foods has not once refuted because it is pure fact and corroborated by government documents:

“The FDA disagreed with Impossible Foods’ safety assessment of its genetically engineered soy leghemoglobin — a genetically engineered protein that has NEVER been in the human diet before and the one that makes the Impossible Burger bleed. Nevertheless, the company went ahead and sold the Impossible Burger to the public anyway, without warning consumers about the FDA’s concerns.”

Michael Hansen, Senior Scientist at Consumers Union, the nonprofit arm of Consumer Reports, has stated: “The way in which Impossible Foods is loosely and interchangeably using the word ‘heme’ on its website is misleading consumers.”

A Bloomberg piece asked on June 27, 2018, “Is It Too Early for Fake Meat?”

The environmental group Friends of the Earth has warned of insufficient research, regulation, and labeling in the realm of “food technology” and released a report examining important questions and concerns about products like “lab meat” and genetically engineered animal replacement products.

Mark Squire, owner of Good Earth Natural Foods, said he read the FDA documents about Impossible Foods’ application for GRAS status and was “shocked that a company could come out with a new food additive and not have it subjected to government and long-term scrutiny.” Further, the firm conducted rat-feeding trials of only 14 and 28 days, though the minimum time is 90 days and experts suggest two years is best practice.

Impossible Foods relied on the expert testimony of scientists who have worked for or have links to Monsanto, the Gates Foundation, Philip Morris, and all the major biotech companies. Twenty minutes after eating an Impossible Burger for the first time, a man Tweeted: “Went into anaphylactic shock, taken to ER.”

Prominent food policy advocate Stacy Malkan, co-founder of US Right to Know, shared, “I’ve never seen such inappropriate, hysterical, anti-public-interest rants from a company (i.e., IB) in my many long years observing the natural products industry. Is this supposed to make us want to eat a #GMOImpossible Burger? Impossible is attacking environmental health groups with links to chemical industry front groups and other nonsense sources.”

EcoWatch just published a piece written by Malkan, Impossible Burger and the Road to Consumer Distrust, on how Impossible Foods is using corrupt science. Despite all the bad PR, the firm somehow may have convinced the New York Times to publish “There Is Nothing More All-American Than the Veggie Burger,” an opinion piece that spins the truth so slyly it could make Monsanto blush.

How Vegan Is Killing Bees?

Note that IB, along with many vegan burgers, relies on a failed chemical ag system of annual soy, wheat, corn, and canola crops that destroy soils and wildlife (birds, bees, and butterflies) with copious amounts of synthetic fertilizers and cancer-linked Monsanto RoundUp. How vegan is that?

Drew French has written a very provocative piece on the damage done by annual crops vs. livestock and perennial crops of trees and grasses: Grass-fed Beef — The Most Vegan Item In The Supermarket. To quote:

“This use of arable land provides ample food for all humans, but it takes away the daily meals of billions of wild animals such as rabbits, bees, rodents, turkeys, earthworms, and endless insects, and it destroys their habitat, family structure, hunting grounds, and nectaries.

A perennial agriculture, on the other hand, based on trees, shrubs, grasses, and livestock, allows nature to thrive without annual destruction. If the craft of agriculture can embrace the long-term advantages of the perennial plant over the short-term ones provided by the yearly abundance of grains and beans, then we may be able to invest the significant wealth of today, including our fossil fuel resources, into the accumulative returns of tomorrow.”

The Good Side of Vegan

Choosing certified-organic, plant-based foods grown without toxic pesticides or fertilizers is a much better vegan option. Confined industrial dairy production uses massive amounts of the corn and soy meal that are so harmful to the environment. Sadly, most of the organic dairy products sold today are also produced on an industrial scale, often using fraudulent “organic grain” imports from Turkey and China, as reported in the Washington Post in May of 2017.

There are new, 100% organic, pasture dairy options. But for most shoppers these are hard to find, so choosing better vegan options makes a lot of sense.

Miyoko’s Kitchen offers organic cheese and butter made from tree crops of coconut and cashew nuts. Want a creamy smoothie? Try adding a spoonful of coconut cream, coconut yogurt, or Nutiva coconut butter — a much better climate choice compared to dairy. Even organic almond milk uses way less resources than most cow milk. Going dairy-free vegan is quite delicious, with numerous options from cashews to coconut, almonds to hemp.

Food Is Not a Zero-Sum Game

Some want to take a simple black-and-white/“Meat is bad and vegan is good” approach, yet the situation is more nuanced. In my October 29, 2017, article, “Oxford Study Attacks Regenerative Agriculture — Monsanto Ally?” I pointed out:

“Grass-fed beef is powered by sunlight and plants, and thousands of ranchers across the US and Canada graze cattle on sun-grown grasses that require zero pesticides and few to no fertilizers, deriving water from the sky and soil.”

No matter what your dietary choices may be, understand that industrial ag (both meat-based and vegan) is a cancer-linked, bee-killing, carbon-busting, soil-destroying, water-polluting, ocean-acidifying human and planetary health disaster. Industrial agriculture is destroying the planet’s oxygen system by killing off plankton via excess CO2.

So, if you like to breathe, please pass up the Impossible Burger. Instead, order organic lentils or perhaps a buffalo or pasture-grown-beef burger. The birds, bees, butterflies, and future generations will thank you.



John W. Roulac

Founder of Nutiva and executive producer of Kiss the Ground. Co-founder of Agroforestry Regeneration Communities and Great Plains Regeneration.