Fact Check: Rainforest Alliance Products Are NOT Poisonous, Organization NOT Owned By Bill Gates

Fact Check

  • by: Lead Stories Staff
Fact Check: Rainforest Alliance Products Are NOT Poisonous, Organization NOT Owned By Bill Gates Not Poisonous

Do Rainforest Alliance labeled products contain herbicide that changes human gender and is the organization owned by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation? No, that's not true: The Rainforest Alliance logo indicates that the product comes from farms that meet environmental and human rights standards as defined by the Rainforest Alliance certification program. Bill and Melinda Gates do not own the Rainforest Alliance.

The claim reappeared as a video published by TikTok on August 11, 2023 by a Serbian account called "boscorelli" (archived here) with a caption translated into English from Serbian by Lead Stories staff reading:

Watch out for the frogs!
Rainforest Alliance products contain ATRAZINE which affects testosterone and changes GENDER.
Atrazine is a herbicide from the group of pesticides that Rainforest Alliance uses to kill weeds.
It bears the mark XN, which means that it is very harmful to health. They are majority owned by Bill and Melinda.

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

TikTok screenshot

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Wed Aug 30 21:28:42 2023 UTC

The Rainforest Alliance has prohibited the use of Atrazine according to the organization's certification for farming document:
(Source: Rainforest Alliance screenshot taken on Wed Aug 31 06:28:02 2023 UTC)
Atrazine is a herbicide that causes mild irritation and swelling if exposed to the skin and can be harmful to humans if ingested, according to the National Pesticide Information Center.
The claims in the video appear to originate from a 2010 study titled: "Atrazine induces complete feminization and chemical castration in male African clawed frogs (Xenopus laevis)" which found the herbicide "depressed testosterone" in amphibians. The study also reported that exposure to the herbicide correlated to low sperm count and impaired fertility in humans.
However, Lead Stories Bulgaria has previously debunked claims that Atrazine can change gender in humans.
Atrazine is a herbicide that can affect the sex determination of some amphibians, but it has no such effect on humans.
Lead Stories Czechia has also debunked claims that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation owns Rainforest Alliance, finding instead that the international non-profit organization promoting sustainable farming and forestry was a recipient of foundation grants, just like many other NGOs.

The post furthermore falsely claims that Bill Gates chose the logo of a poisonous frog known as a Golden poison frog to represent the Rainforest Alliance to promote a conspiracy theory known as the Golden Billion theory. The video claims:
Golden poison frog (Phyllobates terribilis) from the Colombian rainforest is the most poisonous animal on the planet.
The average golden poison frog contains about one milligram of poison, which is enough to kill between 10 and 20 people.
Should we be surprised by what happened?
Bill Gates chose this very logo to mark the food he sells to the population that does not belong to the golden billion.
It is true that the golden poison frog is one of the most poisonous animals on the planet according to the American Museum of Natural History. However, the Rainforest Alliance says the logo depicts a totally different amphibian: the nonpoisonous red-eyed tree frog.
The Rainforest Alliance chose the red-eyed tree frog as its mascot more than thirty years ago, as this bright-eyed amphibian is commonly found in the neotropics, where our founders first started working to protect tropical rainforests.
According to the Washington Post, the "golden billion" is a decades old Russian conspiracy theory:
An end-times conspiracy against Russia, with the wealthy Western elite realizing that ecological change and global disaster would see further competition for world resources, ultimately rendering the world uninhabitable for all but a billion of them.
As mentioned above, Bill Gates does not own the Rainforest Alliance, nor does he "sell food" and there is no indication that Bill Gates subscribes to the "golden billion" conspiracy theory.

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  Lead Stories Staff

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, deceptive or inaccurate stories (or media) making the rounds on the internet.

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Lead Stories is a U.S. based fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, misleading, deceptive or inaccurate stories, videos or images going viral on the internet.
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