Kevin Folta

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Kevin Folta is professor and former chairman of the horticultural sciences department at the University of Florida and promoter of GMO agriculture.[1] After The Independent Florida Alligator reported allegations that Folta abused his wife, he resigned as chair of the department.[2][3]Folta is a prominent promoter of GMO agriculture and the pesticide glyphosate and alleges that he is independent of corporate interests. However, the New York Times reported that he has received funding from Monsanto.[4][5] The University of Florida then released documents that disclosed Folta consulted for a law firm on behalf of Bayer.[6][7]

Brooke Borel also reported for Buzzfeed that Folta created a "shady podcast" where he posed as "Vern Blazek" and interviewed himself, about himself. [8] Folta's podcast is sometimes guest hosted by Kavin Senapathy who also promotes GMOs.[9]

Attacks on Reporters and GMO Critics

Folta maintains an aggressive posture against GMO critics, regularly attacking them on industry websites such as Science 2.0[10] and the Genetic Literacy Project.[11] Targets of Folta include journalists Paul Thacker and Charles Seife,[12] Canadian teenage activist Rachel Parent,[13] and New York Times reporter Eric Lipton.[14]

Industry Ties

Folta maintains he is independent of any corporate interest. However, in 2015, The New York Times reported on emails that showed Folta "part of an inner circle of industry consultants, lobbyists and executives who devised strategy on how to block state efforts to mandate G.M.O. labeling and, most recently, on how to get Congress to pass legislation that would pre-empt any state from taking such a step."[15] Along with the story, the New York Times released dozens of Folta's emails for readers. [16]In May 2018, GM Watch reported that a colleague of Folta alleged he had a lucrative 600/hr consulting arrangement with Bayer.[17]Folta's wife also posted checks from Monsanto that came to their home, and she wrote that Folta had a lucrative $400/hr consulting arrangement with Bayer.[18]Folta denied consulting for Bayer, but Biology Fortified, Inc. then requested documents from the University of Florida.[19]The documents released by the University of Florida showed that Folta consulted for a law firm working for Bayer.[20]

Ties to Genetic Literacy Project

Kevin Folta maintains strong relations with Jon Entine who runs the Genetic Literacy Project, which claims to be an independent nonprofit but is actually a website owned by the public relations company: ESG MediaMetrics.[21]The website for ESG Mediametrics has been removed, but archived version of the firm show that its clients include Monsanto, the Vinyl Institute, and Merisant, a Monsanto spin-off that manufactured artificial sweeteners.[22]

HuffPo released emails between Jon Entine and Folta where they discussed funding from Monsanto and ways to discredit GMO critics.[23] When Folta became concerned that his emails would show he was being funded by Monsanto, he contacted Keith Kloor to preemptively release the emails "but selectively." After Kloor wrote the story for Nature, he then warned Jon Entine of the Genetic Literacy Project. "You and I should also talk,” Keith Kloor wrote to Jon Entine, “You are in the emails.”[24]

Kevin Folta served as a panelist at the 2014 and 2015 conferences hosted by Academics Review and the Genetic Literacy Project, which were later found to have been funded entirely by industry.[25]When proposing the budget for the 2014 conference, Jon Entine emailed Folta that he would be paid for participating. Folta emailed back, "I'm glad you put in something here for me, $7500 is a great chunk of change. If it is offered that way I'll earn every penny.[26] Other faculty included Jay Byrne, a former public relations officer at Monsanto who now runs a PR firm that promotes GMOs; Nina Fedoroff, a professor at Penn State, and advisor to a law firm that represents the biotech industry; and Hank Campbell who later became the president of the American Council on Science and Health.[27]

In late 2017 documents were released as part of a lawsuit against Monsanto regarding the possible carcinogenicity of the pesticide glyphosate.[28] One document detailed Monsanto's battle plan against the World Health Organization, which was planning to classify glyphosate as a possible carcinogen. On page five, Monsanto's plan listed strategies and tactics for discrediting the World Health Organization before it released it's ruling, and named several "industry partners" they would work with that included Biofortified AKA Biology Fortified, Inc., Sense About Science, Genetic Literacy Project, and Academics Review/[29]

Article and Resources

US Right to Know Profile of Kevin Folta[30]

Jon Entine and Genetic Literacy Project Spin Chemical Industry PR[31]

The Three Stooges of Science Denial: The Genetic Literacy Project, Sense About Science, and STATS[32]

Related SourceWatch Articles


  1. University of Florida website, accessed February 2017,
  2. Angela DiMichele, The Alligator,
  3. GM Watch, accessed December 2018,
  4. Eric Lipton, New York Times, website, accessed Feb 2017,
  5. Eric Lipton, New York Times, website, accessed Feb 2017,
  6. GM Watch, accessed December 2018,
  7. Biology Fortified website, accessed December 2018,
  8. Brooke Borel, Buzzfeed, website, accessed Feb 2017,
  9. Talking Biotech podcast, website, accessed September 2017,
  10. About Kevin M. Folta, accessed September 2017,
  11. Kevin Folta, accessed September 2017,
  12. Kevin Folta, Genetic Literacy Project, website, accessed Sept 2017,
  13. Allison Vuchnich, Global News, website, accessed Sept 2017,
  14. Paul Thacker, HuffPo, website, accessed Sept 2017,
  15. Eric Lipton, New York Times, website, accessed Feb 2017,
  16. Eric Lipton, New York Times, website, accessed Feb 2017,
  17. GM Watch, "Kevin Folta: Omission impossible?" accessed December 2018,
  18. Skeptical Nurse, Archived version dated April 12, 2018 "Oh! What A Tangled Web We Weave When First We Practice To Deceive" accessed December 2018,
  19. GM Watch, "Kevin Folta: Omission impossible?" accessed December 2018,
  20. Biology Fortified website, accessed December 2018,
  21. GM Watch, October 15, 2018
  22. GM Watch, October 15, 2018
  23. Paul D. Thacker, HuffPo, accessed August 2017,
  24. Paul D. Thacker, HuffPo, accessed August 2017,
  25. Paul D. Thacker, The Progressive, accessed August 2017,
  26. Emails released by The Progressive between Jon Entine and Kevin Folta, dated 31 October 2013
  27. Paul D. Thacker, The Progressive, accessed August 2017,
  28. Carey Gillam, "How Monsanto Manufactured Outrage At Chemical Cancer Classification It Expected" , Huffington Post, September 19, 2017.
  29. Monsanto: Glyphosate IARC, Draft dated February 23, 2015.
  30. US Right to Know, Page on Kevin Folta, Accessed December 2018
  31. US Right to Know, Page on Jon Entine, Accessed March 2018
  32. GM Watch, October 15, 2018