Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Food Safety and Two Obama Appointments

The Organic Consumers Association is mounting a campaign against two very ominous appointments by the Obama Administration to key positions in the Food and Drug Administration andthe US Department of Agriculture. The OCA seeks first to reverse the appointment of former Monsanto lobbyist Michael Taylor as a senior adviser to the Food and Drug Administration Commissioner on food safety. The OCA is also opposing the rumored appointment of current Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Dennis Wolff as Under-Secretary of Agriculture for Food Safety.

Quoting the OCA:
"Michael Taylor has shuttled between positions at the FDA and USDA and as a lawyer and lobbyist for GMO-seed giant Monsanto. According to OCA, he "is widely credited with ushering Monsanto's recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) through the FDA regulatory process and into the milk supply -- unlabeled."

"Taylor is also responsible for the FDA's decision to treat genetically modified organisms as 'substantially equivalent' to natural foods and therefore not require any safety studies. The 'substantially equivalent' rule allowed the FDA to ignore evidence that genetically engineered foods, including soy, are in fact very different from natural foods and pose specific health risks."

On this point, an article in the Huffington Post by Jeffrey Smith linked to this evidence. The FDA's press release about Taylor made no mention at all of his time spent working for Monsanto.

Dennis Wolff is the Secretary of Agriculture for the State of Pennsylvania. According to the OCA, Wolff is notorious for having championed agribusiness interests as Pennsylvania's Secretary of Agriculture, including unilaterally banning local dairies from marketing their products as free of rBGH. (He is himself an rGBH-using dairy farmer.) Wolff is a member of the Agriculture Technical Advisory Committee to the World Trade Organization, which the OCA say "is largely credited with forcing so-called "free trade" on farmers and consumers around the globe, undermining national sovereignty and food safety."

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