Tea Party and Hippies Unite: Food Safety and the President's Food Safety Czar

Why has the Food Safety Modernization Act (S510) encountered opposition from the Tea Partiers and their unlikely ally, the hippy, natural food, organic farmer, granola crowd? Look at the history of the FDA and see if they truly have the best interests of America’s health and food safety at the core of their concerns.

In the early 1990s the FDA was constructing their genetically modified organisms (GMO) policy. During the Clinton Administration Michael R. Taylor was appointed policy chief at the FDA, whose job it was to make policy with regards to these GMOs. Prior to working at the FDA he had been Monsanto’s attorney. One of the products of Monsanto was Posilac, which is the brand name of recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) also known as recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST). This product, when injected into dairy cows, causes them to produce 10 to 15% more milk on average. This was marketed as a safe drug to increase milk production and therefore increase revenues for dairy farmers. Michael R. Taylor declared all GMOs, including rBGH/rBST, to be essentially identical to the natural product and therefore safe for human consumption, even though no safety studies were done. In late1993 Monsanto received permission from the FDA to market Posilac.

Farmers began purchasing Posilac and injecting their cows and found that it did indeed cause the cows to increase their milk production. What they also discovered is that these cows began to suffer with mastitis (infected udders) continuously and they had to inject them with antibiotics to fight these infections, resulting in pus being present in the milk the cows produced. They also suffered with fertility problems, hoof diseases and lameness among other illnesses. The cows were producing milk constantly and were living shorter, unhealthier lives. The farmers decided that the health of their cows was not worth the increased profits and began to market their milk products as not containing milk from rBGH or rBST treated cows.

The FDA took swift action, at the insistence of Monsanto, and told them that if they were going to continue to label their products, they must also add the statement that “no significant difference has been shown between milk derived from rBST and non rBST treated cows.” rBST/rBGH can be found in milk, ice cream, ice milk, frozen yogurt, yogurt, baby formula, cereals, cheese, cream cheese. Think powdered milk products, too.

Consumers groups claim that milk from cows treated with rBST have high levels of Insulin Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1) as reported in the Cancer Prevention Coalition, which has been shown to be a potent tumor promoter, particularly breast, prostate and colorectal cancers.

Careful studies by government scientists in Canada resulted in it being banned from use in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Europe and the U.K.

After leaving the FDA Michael R. Taylor went back to work for Monsanto as its Vice President and chief lobbyist. The FDA, USDA and Monsanto have been a revolving door for Mr. Taylor.

In May 2009, The Huffington Post’s Jeffrey Hunter wrote You’re Appointing Who? Please, Obama Say It’s Not So to Michael R. Taylor’s appointment as the new Food Safety Czar. He states that “GMOs were rushed onto our plates in 1996. Over the next nine years, multiple chronic illnesses in the US nearly doubled — from 7% to 13%. Allergy-related emergency room visits doubled between 1997 and 2002 while food allergies, especially among children, skyrocketed. We also witnessed a dramatic rise in asthma, autism, obesity, diabetes, digestive disorders, and certain cancers.” And he also cites that “the American Academy of Environmental Medicine called for an immediate moratorium on all genetically modified foods in May of 2009 after concluding that animal studies have demonstrated a causal relationship between GM foods and infertility, accelerated aging, dysfunctional insulin regulation, changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system, and immune problems such as asthma, allergies, and inflammation.”

Today, Michael R. Taylor is the Deputy Commissioner of Foods, having been appointed to this position in January 2010 by President Obama. He is the first to hold this position in the newly created Office of Foods.

This is yet another example of big government and big business working together at the expense of the health and safety of us and our children.

Section 103 of The Food Safety Modernization Act gives some insight into the onerous regulations promulgated by this bill: Requires each owner, operator, or agent in charge of a food facility to: (1) evaluate the hazards that could affect food; (2) identify and implement preventive controls; (3) monitor the performance of those controls; and (4) maintain records of such monitoring. Deems facilities required to comply with certain food-specific standards to be in compliance with this section. Requires the Secretary to promulgate regulations to establish science-based minimum standards for conducting a hazard analysis, documenting hazards, implementing preventive controls, and documenting such implementation. Prohibits the operation of a facility that manufactures, processes, packs, or holds food for sale in the United States if the owner, operator, or agent in charge of such facility is not in compliance with this section. Delays implementation of this section for small businesses. (Until when?)

This administration is attempting to control our food supply with this law under the guise of “protecting” us. What it will really do is undermine the small farmers, the organic farmers, by mandating cost-prohibitive reporting, evaluating, monitoring and maintaining of records to comply with these rules and “prohibits” those operations that are not considered to be in compliance. The Secretary of Health and Human Services would be responsible for establishing these regulations. Isn’t she busy enough with her duties with regard to the Health Care Reform Act?

In an article in Mother Jones by Stephanie Mencimer The Tea Party’s Food Fight she attempts to understand why “The food safety bill is one of those strange issues where the alternative health left and the survivalist right find common cause.” Perhaps it is because they both know and understand the total control and power government can achieve by regulating our food supply and taking away our ability to feed ourselves! When it comes to food we are all survivalists.

If Michelle Obama truly wants to improve the health of our children perhaps she should persuade her husband to ban all GMO food products from being sold in the United States instead of blaming fast food restaurants such as McDonalds, and parents, for serving unhealthy foods to our children.

[youtube UlKsdyTO7jE Why you don’t want rBGH in your milk]


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