TEAM INCLUDE DANGEROUS BIOTECH "YES MEN"
December 3, 2008
“Yes Men” on Obama’s team threaten to expand the use
of dangerous genetically modified (GM) foods in our diets. Instead of
giving us change and hope, they may prolong the hypnotic “group
think” that has been institutionalized over three previous administrations—where
critical analysis was abandoned in favor of irrational devotion to this
risky new technology.
agriculture secretary Dan
Glickman saw it first hand:
was almost immoral to say that [biotechnology] wasn’t good, because
it was going to solve the problems of the human race and feed the hungry
and clothe the naked. . . . If you’re against it, you’re
Luddites, you’re stupid. That, frankly, was the side our government
was on. . . . You felt like you were almost an alien, disloyal, by trying
to present an open-minded view”
Glickman dared to question the lax regulations on GM food, he said he
slapped around a little bit by not only the industry, but also some
of the people even in the administration.”
shutting open-minds and slapping dissent, deceptive myths about genetically
modified organisms (GMOs) persist.
all the myths about GMOs, the most dangerous is that they are safe.
This formed the hollow basis of the FDA’s 1992 GMO policy, which
agency is not aware of any information showing that foods derived by
these new methods differ from other foods in any meaningful or uniform
sentence is complete fiction. At the time it was written, there was
overwhelming consensus among the FDA’s own scientists that GM
foods were substantially different, and could create unpredictable,
unsafe, and hard-to-detect allergens, toxins, diseases, and nutritional
problems. They had urged the political appointees in charge to require
long-term safety studies, including human studies, to protect the public.
stayed hidden until 1999, when 44,000 pages of internal FDA memos and
reports were made public due to a lawsuit. According to public interest
attorney Steven Druker, the documents showed how their warnings and
“references to the unintended negative effects” of genetic
engineering “were progressively deleted from drafts of the policy
statement,” in spite of scientists’ protests.
has happened to the scientific elements of this document?” wrote
FDA microbiologist Louis Pribyl, after reviewing the latest rewrite
of the policy. “It will look like and probably be just a political
document. . . . It reads very pro-industry, especially in the area of
flooded the market with dangerous GMOs
to the FDA’s “promote biotech” policy, perilously
few safety studies and investigations have been conducted on GMOs. Those
that have, including two
government studies from Austria and Italy published just last month,
demonstrate that the concerns by FDA scientists should have been heeded.
GMOs have been linked to toxic and allergic reactions in humans, sick,
sterile, and dead livestock, and damage to virtually every organ studied
in lab animals. GMOs are unsafe.
the highest level, the responsibility for this disregard of science
and consumer safety lies with the first Bush White House, which had
ordered the FDA to promote the biotechnology industry and get GM foods
on the market quickly. To accomplish this White House directive, the
FDA created a position for Michael Taylor. As the FDA’s new Deputy
Commissioner of Policy, he oversaw the creation of GMO policy.
was formerly the outside attorney for the biotech giant Monsanto, and
later became their vice president. He had also been the counsel for
the International Food Biotechnology Council (IFBC), for whom he drafted
a model of government policy designed to rush GMOs onto the market with
no significant regulations. The final FDA policy that he oversaw, which
did not require any safety tests or labeling, closely resembled the
model he had drafted for the IFBC.
Taylor is on the Obama transition team.
engineered bovine growth hormone and unhealthy milk
was also in charge when the FDA approved Monsanto’s genetically
engineered bovine growth hormone (rbGH or rbST). Dairy products from
treated cows contain more pus, more antibiotics, more growth hormone,
and more IGF-1—a powerful hormone linked to cancer and increased
incidence of fraternal twins (see www.YourMilkonDrugs.com.)
The growth hormone is banned in most industrialized nations, including
Canada, the EU, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. But under Michael
Taylor, it was approved in the US, without labeling.
more and more consumers here learn about the health risks of the drug,
they shift their purchases to brands that voluntarily label their products
as not using rbGH. Consumer rejection of rbGH hit a tipping point a
couple of years ago, and since then it has been kicked out of milk from
Wal-Mart, Starbucks, Kroger, Subway, and at least 40 of the top 100
dairies. In 2007, Monsanto desperately tried to reverse the trend by
asking the FDA and FTC to make it illegal for dairies to label their
products as free from rbGH. Both agencies flatly refused the company’s
Monsanto turned to an ally, Dennis Wolff, the Pennsylvania Secretary
of Agriculture. Wolff used his position to single-handedly declare rbGH-free
labels illegal in his state. Such a policy would make it impossible
for national dairy brands to declare their products rbGH-free, since
they couldn’t change packaging just for Pennsylvania. Wolff’s
audacious move so infuriated citizens around the nation, the outpouring
caused the governor to step in and stop the prohibition before it took
Wolff, according to unbossed.com,
is being considered for Obama’s USDA Secretary.
Pennsylvania did not ultimately ban rbGH-free labels, they did decide
to require companies who use the labels to also include a disclaimer
sentence on the package, stating that the according to the FDA there
is no difference between milk from cows treated with rbGH and those
not treated. In reality, this sentence contradicts the FDA’s own
scientists. (Is this sounding all too familiar?) Even according to Monsanto’s
own studies, milk from treated cows has more pus, antibiotics, bovine
growth hormone, and IGF-1. Blatantly ignoring the data, a top FDA bureaucrat
wrote a “white paper” urging companies that labeled products
as rbGH-free to also use that disclaimer on their packaging. The bureaucrat
was Michael Taylor.
on biotech is “Bad-idea virus”
several years, politicians around the US were offering money and tax-breaks
to bring biotech companies into their city or state. But according to
Cortright, an Oregon economist who co-wrote a 2004 report on this
trend, “This notion that you lure biotech to your community to
save its economy is laughable. This is a bad-idea virus that has swept
through governors, mayors and economic development officials.”
said it “remains a money-losing, niche industry.”
politician who caught a bad case of the bad-idea virus was Tom Vilsack,
Iowa’s governor from 1998-2006. He was co-creator and chair of
the Governors’ Biotechnology Partnership in 2000 and in 2001 the
Biotech Industry Organization named him BIO Governor of the Year.
Vilsack was considered a front runner for Obama’s USDA secretary.
Perhaps the outcry prompted by Vilsack’s biotech connections was
the reason for his name being withdrawn.
don’t know Barack Obama’s position on GMOs. According to
a November 23rd Des Moines Register article, Obama,
like Bush, may be Ag biotech ally, there are clues that he has not
been able to see past the biotech lobbyist’s full court spin.
His top scientific advisers during the campaign included Sharon Long,
a former board member of the biotech giant Monsanto Co., and Harold
Varmus, a Nobel laureate who co-chaired a key study of genetically engineered
crops by the National Academy of Sciences back in 2000.
[Obama] said biotech crops “have provided enormous benefits”
to farmers and expressed confidence “that we can continue to modify
the other hand, Obama may have a sense how pathetic US GMO regulations
are, since he indicated that he wants “stringent tests for environmental
and health effects” and “stronger regulatory oversight guided
by the best available scientific advice.”
is, however, one unambiguous and clear promise that separates Obama
from his Bush and Clinton predecessors.
Obama will require mandatory labeling of GMOs
by 9 out of 10 Americans, labeling is long overdue and is certainly
cause for celebration.
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am told that now Michael Taylor also favors both mandatory labeling
and testing of GMOs. Good going Michael; but your timing is a bit off.)
sign a petition asking President Obama to make his GMO labeling plan
comprehensive and meaningful, click
© 2008 Jeffrey Smith - All