Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Genetically Modified Milk Man Rings Twice

"Government scientists from Canada evaluated the FDA’s approval of rbGH and concluded that it was a dangerous facade. The drug was banned in Canada, as well as Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. But it was approved in the US while Michael Taylor was in charge. His drugged milk might have caused a significant rise in US cancer rates"


By Jeffrey Smith
July 29, 2009

The person who may be responsible for more food-related illness and death than anyone in history has just been made the US food safety czar. This is no joke.

Here’s the back story.

When FDA scientists were asked to weigh in on what was to become the most radical and potentially dangerous change in our food supply—the introduction of genetically modified (GM) foods—secret documents now reveal that the experts were VERY concerned. Memo after memo described toxins, new diseases, nutritional deficiencies, and hard-to-detect allergens. They were adamant that the technology carried “Serious health hazards,” and required careful, long-term research, including human studies, before any genetically modified organisms (GMOs) could be safely released into the food supply.

But the biotech industry had rigged the game so that neither science nor scientists would stand in their way. They had placed their own man in charge of FDA policy and he wasn’t going to be swayed by feeble arguments related to food safety. No, he was going to do what corporations had done for decades to get past these types of pesky concerns. He was going to lie.

Dangerous Food Safety Lies

When the FDA was constructing their GMO policy in 1991-2, their scientists were clear that gene-sliced foods were significantly different and could lead to “different risks” than conventional foods. But official policy declared the opposite, claiming that the FDA knew nothing of significant differences, and declared GMOs substantially equivalent.

This fiction became the rationale for allowing GM foods on the market without any required safety studies whatsoever! The determination of whether GM foods were safe to eat was placed entirely in the hands of the companies that made them—companies like Monsanto, which told us that the PCBs, DDT, and Agent Orange were safe.

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 visitsdoubled 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.

In January of this year, Dr. P. M. Bhargava, one of the world’s top biologists, told me that after reviewing 600 scientific journals, he concluded that the GM foods in the US are largely responsible for the increase in many serious diseases.

In May, the American Academy of Environmental Medicineconcluded 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

In July, a report by eight international experts determined that the flimsy and superficial evaluations of GMOs by both regulators and GM companies “systematically overlook the side effects” and significantly underestimate “the initial signs of diseases like cancer and diseases of the hormonal, immune, nervous and reproductive systems, among others.”

The Fox Guarding the Chickens

If GMOs are indeed responsible for massive sickness and death, then the individual who oversaw the FDA policy that facilitated their introduction holds a uniquely infamous role in human history. That person is Michael Taylor. He had been Monsanto’s attorney before becoming policy chief at the FDA. Soon after, he became Monsanto’s Vice President and chief lobbyist.

This month Michael Taylor became the senior advisor to the commissioner of the FDA. He is now America’s food safety czar. What have we done?

The Milk Man Cometh

While Taylor was at the FDA in the early 90’s, he also oversaw the policy regarding Monsanto’s genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rbGH/rbST)—injected into cows to increase milk supply.

The milk from injected cows has more pus, more antibiotics, more bovine growth hormone, and most importantly, more insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). IGF-1 is a huge risk factor for common cancers and its high levels in this drugged milk is why so many medical organizations and hospitals have taken stands against rbGH. A former Monsanto scientist told me that when three of his Monsanto colleagues evaluated rbGH safety and discovered the elevated IGF-1 levels, even they refused to drink any more milk—unless it was organic and therefore untreated.

Government scientists from Canada evaluated the FDA’s approval of rbGH and concluded that it was a dangerous facade. The drug was banned in Canada, as well as Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. But it was approved in the US while Michael Taylor was in charge. His drugged milk might have caused a significant rise in US cancer rates. Additionalpublished evidence also implicates rbGH in the high rate of fraternal twins in the US.

Taylor also determined that milk from injected cows did not require any special labeling. And as a gift to his future employer Monsanto, he wrote a white paper suggesting that if companies ever had the audacity to label their products as not using rbGH, they should also include a disclaimer stating that according to the FDA, there is no difference between milk from treated and untreated cows.

Taylor’s disclaimer was also a lie. Monsanto’s own studies and FDA scientists officially acknowledged differences in the drugged milk. No matter. Monsanto used Taylor’s white paper as the basis to successfully sue dairies that labeled their products as rbGH-free.

Will Monsanto’s Wolff Also Guard the Chickens?

As consumers learned that rbGH was dangerous, they refused to buy the milk. To keep their customers, a tidal wave of companies has publicly committed to not use the drug and to label their products as such. Monsanto tried unsuccessfully to convince the FDA and FTC to make it illegal for dairies to make rbGH-free claims, so they went to their special friend in Pennsylvania—Dennis Wolff. As state Secretary of Agriculture, Wolff unilaterally declared that labeling products rbGH-free was illegal, and that all such labels must be removed from shelves statewide. This would, of course, eliminate the label from all national brands, as they couldn’t afford to create separate packaging for just one state.

Fortunately, consumer demand forced Pennsylvania’s Governor Ed Rendell to step in and stop Wolff’s madness. But Rendell allowed Wolff to take a compromised position that now requires rbGH-free claims to also be accompanied by Taylor’s FDA disclaimer on the package.

President Obama is considering Dennis Wolff for the top food safety post at the USDA. Yikes!

Rumor has it that the reason why Pennsylvania’s governor is supporting Wolff’s appointment is to get him out of the state—after he “screwed up so badly” with the rbGH decision. Oh great, governor. Thanks.

Ohio Governor Gets Taylor-itus

Ohio not only followed Pennsylvania’s lead by requiring Taylor’s FDA disclaimer on packaging, they went a step further. They declared that dairies must place that disclaimer on the same panel where rbGH-free claims are made, and even dictated the font size. This would force national brands to re-design their labels and may ultimately dissuade them from making rbGH-free claims at all. The Organic Trade Association and the International Dairy Foods Association filed a lawsuit against Ohio. Although they lost the first court battle, upon appeal, the judge ordered a mediation session that takes place today (July 23, 2009). Thousands of Ohio citizens have flooded Governor Strickland’s office with urgent requests to withdraw the states anti-consumer labeling requirements.

Perhaps the governor has an ulterior motive for pushing his new rules. If he goes ahead with his labeling plans, he might end up with a top appointment in the Obama administration.

To hear what America is saying about GMOs and to add your voice, go to our new Facebook group.

© 2009 Jeffrey Smith - All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Not Green, Not Smart, Not Needed


Not Green, Not Smart, Not Needed

BURNABY — Yesterday the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) released an order which unequivocally curtails the gold rush towards private power in BC.

The BCUC concluded that the Long Term Acquisition Plan (LTAP) submitted by BC Hydro was “not in the public interest”, disrupting the provincial governments’ ongoing political interference of our public utility.

The BCUC order is a vindication of the comprehensive analysis submitted by COPE 378 on the LTAP and Clean Power Call. The BCUC agrees with COPE 378’s research and submissions: the government cannot exaggerate the need for power by downgrading the Burrard Thermal plant, shortchanging conservation efforts and forcing the
purchase of private power, with British Columbians and ratepayers taking the risk.

Flowing from their decision that the LTAP was fundamentally flawed, the BCUC again agreed with COPE 378 that BC Hydro does not need the power asked for in the Clean Call. The Clean Call would have burdened BC Hydro with 3000 Gigawatts of surplus power - an enormous amount of unneeded electricity. The Commission’s decision means BC Hydro cannot use an LTAP decision to justify expenditures and expensive contracts with private power and then try and recover the costs through taxpayers.

The BCUC decision ensures each energy purchase contract and expenditure will come under more scrutiny to demonstrate if the project is in the best interest of British Columbians.

The BCUC also found the conservation efforts in the LTAP lacking. The Commission called the Demand Side Management provisions “deficient” and said that programs will decay.

“We are thrilled that the BCUC has recognized what we’ve been saying all along,” said COPE 378 President Andy Ross, “this is power we don’t need at a price we can’t afford.”

Over night markets quickly reacted to the BCUC's decision to reject the government's rush into private power and stocks plummeted. Hardest hit is Plutonic Power, the corporation developing a massive system of hydro projects in the Bute and Toba Inlets.

Yet unknown is if the powerful private power lobby will convince the provincial government to overturn the BCUC’s decision, or more ominously, its mandate and autonomy. “We saw it with Alcan. The BC Liberal government could use their cabinet powers to do an end-run around the BCUC,” warned Ross. “Alternatively the government could backstop the purchase of private power under the guise of economic stimulus.”

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Media Contact: Lori Winstanley, (778) 828-4039

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Gorilla Radio for July 27, 2009

This Week on GR
by C. L. Cook
Summer is perfect for more than languid reflections, lazily spun and warmly wound; it is also the time of hope and revisiting relationships. Today, two seasoned guests of Gorilla past agree to repeat. Regurgitating too is the annual celebration of colonial dominion, known colloquially as, "B.C. Day." Looking back, it was just after that I talked with author, and activist, professor Robert Jensen.

Robert Jensen is an author, media critic, and professor of journalism at the University of Texas at Austin School of Journalism. His book titles include: 'Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity,' 'The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege,' and 'Citizens of the Empire: The Struggle to Claim Our Humanity,' and his latest book, 'All My Bones Shake: Seeking a progressive path to the Prophetic Voice.' Robert Jensen in the first segment.

And; Last week, last month, last year, last ten years (nearly) Gorilla Radio has aired, Jon Elmer has brought to the show's listeners an insider's look at daily life within the siege. Stymied at Egypt's border cross with Gaza: (see here) I spoke to Jon about the situation of Gazan's caught outside the walls, with nowhere else to go. This week, unable to pass, after a three week game of plea and denial, Jon crossed into the West Bank last week. Jon Elmer raw from Palestine in the second segment.

And; as last year at this time, Victoria Street Newz publisher, CFUV Radio broadcaster, and Gorilla Radio stalwart, Janine Bandcroft is again, at this moment, in Cuba with the 20th Pastors for Peace Caravan to Cuba, a test to the decades-long blockade of that Caribbean island by the United States and its allies. That said: there is a real communication gap between we here and they there, witnessed where J9 and I can't communicate due to primitive or privations! (Sidney excluded). All things being equal, though; Janine should be here next week, to bring us up to speed with all the good things to do she got up to doing on her recent epic trip to Cuba and Back!