Thursday, October 11
Nutritional Fascism: An "FDA-Created Health Crisis"
While the Bush White House certainly didn't create the executive practice of opening up the hen house of government regulation to corporate foxes to be regulated, its arrogant glee in ravaging the commonweal is unprecedented.
The best clue of Bush-Cheney's intention of dramatically scaling back government regulation to pre-FDR New Deal days , i.e., to pre-Depression America circa 1928--was what the Denver Post learned by May 2004 was a plethora of appointments of former corporate lobbyists and officers to oversee the safety of the nation's food supply and health.
In a New York City ballroom days before Christmas , a powerful Bush administration lawyer made an unprecedented offer to drug companies, one likely to protect their profits and potentially hurt consumers.While undermining substantive government regulation is proving to be an economic wet dream for Corporate America, the covert class warfare literally is killing American consumers.
Daniel E. Troy, lead counsel for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, extended the government's help in torpedoing certain lawsuits. Among Troy's targets: claims that medications caused devastating and unexpected side effects.
Pitch us lawsuits that we might get involved in, Troy told several hundred pharmaceutical attorneys, some of them old friends and acquaintances from his previous role representing major U.S. pharmaceutical firms.
The offer by the FDA's top attorney, made Dec. 15 at the Plaza Hotel, took the agency responsible for food and drug safety into new territory.
"The FDA is now in the business of helping lawsuit defendants, specifically the pharmaceutical companies," said James O'Reilly, University of Cincinnati law professor and author of a book on the history of the FDA. "It's a dramatic change in what the FDA has done in the past."
Troy's switch from industry advocate to industry regulator overseeing his former clients is a hallmark of President Bush's administration. [emphasis added]
Troy is one of more than 100 high-level officials under Bush who helped govern industries they once represented as lobbyists, lawyers or company advocates, a Denver Post analysis shows.
In at least 20 cases, those former industry advocates have helped their agencies write, shape or push for policy shifts that benefit their former industries. They knew which changes to make because they had pushed for them as industry advocates.
For example: Citing an FCC technicality, a Florida Appeals court in February 2003 invalidated a lawsuit by two Fox TV news reporters, effectively ruling that news networks were exempt from telling viewers the truth about cancer-causing additives in the food chain. That decision ended a five-year judicial process by overturning findings of three previous courts that awarded Jane Aker and Steve Wislon compensatory damages in a whistle blowing suit against the network's Tampa affiliate for suppressing research showing the state's dairy cattle injected with the artificial hormone bovine growth hormone (BGH) produced cancer-causing milk.
So, my fellow Americans, my question for you is "Got Milk?" Bottoms up. Now let me see that white mustache.
Appearing yesterday in my email inbox was the October issue of the e-newsletter "Spilling the Beans" from the UK's Jeffery Smith. The author and researcher's international bestselling book Seeds of Deception gravely informs us Americans--GM foods remain prohibited in Britain and Canada--we have much more in our food supply than milk to worry over--in large part because of George II's corporate-friendly FDA.
Here's are a few of the opening paragraphs from Smith e-newsletter this month:
An FDA-Created Health Crisis Circles the Globe
How corporations engineered the non-regulation of
dangerous genetically modified foods
Government officials around the globe have been coerced, infiltrated, and paid off by the agricultural biotech giants. In Indonesia, Monsanto gave bribes and questionable payments to at least 140 officials, attempting to get their genetically modified (GM) cotton approved. In India, one official tampered with the report on Bt cotton to increase the yield figures to favor Monsanto. In Mexico, a senior government official allegedly threatened a University of California professor, implying “We know where your children go to school,” trying to get him not to publish incriminating evidence that would delay GM approvals. While most industry manipulation and political collusion is more subtle, none was more significant than that found at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Genetically modified crops are the result of a technology developed in the 1970s that allow genes from one species to be forced into the DNA of unrelated species. The inserted genes produce proteins that confer traits in the new plant, such as herbicide tolerance or pesticide production. The process of creating the GM crop can produce all sorts of side effects, and the plants contain proteins that have never before been in the food supply. In the US, new types of food substances are normally classified as food additives, which must undergo extensive testing, including long-term animal feeding studies. If approved, the label of food products containing the additive must list it as an ingredient.
There is an exception, however, for substances that are deemed “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS). GRAS status allows a product to be commercialized without any additional testing. According to US law, to be considered GRAS the substance must be the subject of a substantial amount of peer-reviewed published studies (or equivalent) and there must be overwhelming consensus among the scientific community that the product is safe. GM foods had neither. Nonetheless, in a precedent-setting move that some experts contend was illegal, in 1992 the FDA declared that GM crops are GRAS as long as their producers say they are. Thus, the FDA does not require any safety evaluations or labels whatsoever. A company can even introduce a GM food to the market without telling the agency.
Such a lenient approach to GM crops was largely the result of Monsanto’s legendary influence over the US government. According to the New York Times, “What Monsanto wished for from Washington, Monsanto and, by extension, the biotechnology industry got. . . . When the company abruptly decided that it needed to throw off the regulations and speed its foods to market, the White House quickly ushered through an unusually generous policy of self-policing.” According to Dr. Henry Miller, who had a leading role in biotechnology issues at the FDA from 1979 to 1994, “In this area, the U.S. government agencies have done exactly what big agribusiness has asked them to do and told them to do.”...read more
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