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FDA and Monsanto...Government..."of the people"?
By Hesh Goldstein, MS, Health Talk Hawaii, September 2011
Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH) is a naturally occurring hormone produced by milk cows. Closely resembling the natural growth hormones in human children, the presence of BGH in milk has been shown to significantly elevate hormone levels in people, creating many growth problems. And that’s not even accounting for the use of artificial hormones. Enter Recombinant BGH (rBGH), an unnaturally occurring, genetically engineered hormone produced by Monsanto. As you know, Monsanto has made other fine humanitarian and ecological contributions such as Agent Orange and PCB’s.
The FDA’s complicity continued; Michael Taylor, a Monsanto lawyer for many
years, left in 1976 to become a staff lawyer for the FDA. In 1991,
Milk, it is said, is “the” source of calcium that helps kids grow up big and strong. Milk is alleged to contain vital nutrients and to help prevent osteoporosis. The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, through its food dietary guidelines, says that everyone should get 2-3 servings of dairy everyday. Milk is advocated by various government agencies, hoards of physicians, and a $200 million annual advertising budget of the dairy industry. Can we ever forget the mustachioed faces of countless numbers of celebrities decorating everything from newspaper ads to roadside billboards?
And, yes, America has a love affair with milk. So much so that the average person consumes 600 pounds of dairy products every year, including about 420 pounds of fluid milk and cream, 70 pounds of various milk-based fats and oils, 30 pounds of cheese, and 17 pounds of ice cream (obesity epidemic anyone?). In total, the U.S. dairy farmers produce about 163 billion pounds of milk and milk products a year. It is udderly horrendous, if you’ll pardon the pun.
But what if the celebrities we love and trust were lying to us? What if milk doesn’t do a body good? Instead, what if milk is a major contributor to breast and prostate cancer, heart disease, asthma, diabetes, and more? What if the U.S. government and dairy industry are in bed together to hide the ill effects of dairy consumption? Nanananana, they wouldn’t do that, would they?
Well, according to Amy Lanou, Ph.D., the nutrition director of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), besides the above, “milk has been linked to anemia, allergies, obesity, and ovarian cancer”.
So why, then, is milk regarded as wholesome especially with the U.S. Dept of Agriculture, according to its mission statement, being charged with “enhancing the quality of life for the American people by supporting the production of agriculture”.
Today’s USDA has the dual responsibility of assisting dairy farmers while promoting healthy dietary choices for Americans. Would you think that this creates a conflict of interest that puts at risk the objectivity of government farm policy and the health of the dairy-consuming public? Duh! Six of the eleven members assigned to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee have financial ties to the meat, dairy, and egg interests. Prior to the PCRM winning a lawsuit against the USDA claiming that they “unfairly promoted the special interests of the meat and dairy industries through its official dietary guidelines and the Food Pyramid”, the USDA refused to disclose such conflicts of interest to the public.
Historically, the USDA’s dietary guidelines have consistently reflected the industry’s push for greater consumption of both flesh and dairy. The USDA counters this by saying that the guidelines should be “reality-based”, arguing that what people should really be eating is moot because it doesn’t fit with the American lifestyle. Whaaat? What they are saying is that the USDA doesn’t even think it is reasonable to aspire to what constitutes a healthy diet.
May 13, 2002 marked the passage of the farm bill in which dairy farmers and processors received, over 31/2 years, an additional $2 billion in subsidies, largely realized through price supports that inflate costs for consumers. Understand that dairy subsidies are a carryover from the Depression era when survival of small dairy farmers was considered essential to maintaining a national food supply. By the way, most of that $2 billion went to larger dairy farms in 12 northeastern states, hanging small farmers out to dry and actually encouraging the demise of family farms.
Another assertion of the suit brought by the PCRM against the USDA is that milk, as a staple in school lunch programs unfairly discriminates against non-whites who have a high incidence of lactose intolerance. There are about 50 million lactose intolerant adults in the U.S., including 15% of the white population, 70% of the blacks, and 80 to 97% of Asian, Native Americans, and Jews of European descent. These 50 million people suffer from a variety of digestive symptoms resulting from milk consumption and other dairy products, including gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation and indigestion.
Currently, the USDA requires that every public school in the country serve milk with a push by some of our elected officials to offer financial incentives to schools that install milk vending machines. To add insult to injury, students cannot get free or subsidized alternatives to milk, like juice or soy milk, without a doctor’s note. So, for the 70% of the black kids and the 90% of the Asian kids, in public schools, a negative response to lactose intake is practically mandated by the U.S. Government. In essence, these huge dairy subsidies and broad-based promotion of milk by the government’s school lunch program is a form of economic racism that isolates minorities and encourages them to ingest something they are intolerant of or allergic to.
Girls in the U.S. are beginning to menstruate at younger and younger ages, According to the Cancer Prevention Coalition, some girls are now experiencing the effects of puberty as young as three years of age. Fifty years ago the incidence of breast cancer risk among U.S. women was one in twenty. As of 2001, that percentage has grown to one in eight women.
Why is that? Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH)! BGH is a naturally occurring hormone produced by milk cows. Closely resembling the natural growth hormones in human children, the presence of BGH in milk has been shown to significantly elevate hormone levels in people, creating many growth problems. And that’s not even accounting for the use of artificial hormones. Enter Recombinant BGH (rBGH), an unnaturally occurring, genetically engineered hormone produced by Monsanto. As you know, Monsanto has made other fine humanitarian and ecological contributions such as Agent Orange and PCB’s.
Through a series of research cover-ups and a network of conflicting interests with government policymakers, and we’ll get to that in Part 3, Monsanto, in 1994, managed to get approval for Posilac, which is Monsanto’s commercial form of rBGH and increases cow’s milk production by 15-25%.
According to Monsanto, over a quarter of U.S. milk cows are now herds supplemented with Posilac. The majority of the country’s 1,500 dairy companies mix rBGH milk with non-RBGH milk during processing to such an extent that an estimated 80-90% of the U.S. dairy supply is contaminated.
What Monsanto doesn’t tell consumers is that this supplementation of additional growth hormones is causing secondary sex characteristics to appear earlier in young children, especially girls. Monsanto also doesn’t tell consumers that rBGH injected cows produce extremely high levels of Insulin Growth Factor -1 (IGH-1), a cancer promoter that occurs naturally in the human bloodstream at levels that generally do not result in tumors. Monsanto and the FDA refuse to acknowledge research directly linking elevated levels of IGF-1 to increased risk of breast and prostate cancer. To make matters worse, Monsanto and the FDA colluded in ‘93 and ’94 to block labeling requirements for rBGH milk (even today Monsanto and the FDA block labeling of genetically engineered food). So, the average dairy consumer has no idea that they are increasing their own risk of getting cancer.
Since 1994, every industrialized country in the world, except the U.S., Canada, and Japan, and the 15 nations of the European nations, has banned rBGH milk. Yet, in the face of facts and the majority opinion of the global political and scientific community, Monsanto and the U.S. continue to endorse rBGH milk for general consumption, at the same time try to figure out why there is an increase in breast cancer deaths and the continually declining age of puberty for girls.
It’s not rocket science to see that milk is bad for people and money is more important than concern for the welfare of the people, but what about the effect on the cows that produce that milk? The life expectancy of the average cow under natural conditions is about 25-30 years; on the typical factory farm, where well over half of U.S. milk cows live, they live only 4-5 years. Think about how you would feel if your life span was decreased by over 80%.
What happens, because of adding Monsanto’s Posilac to the cow’s feed , is that it causes them to suffer from mastitis, which is a bacterial infection of the udder, cystic ovaries, and uterus disorders. Aside from the harm to the cows, guess where these illness wind up? Yes, through discharges that go into the milk and ultimately to you.
By keeping dairy cows constantly pregnant, which is the only way the cow can produce milk, it creates baby calves. Enter the veal industry. Since the male calves are useless to the farmers and have no economic value, an economic value had to be created. “Hey, let’s figure out a way to sell em and make money.” As the true caring and compassionate farmers that they are, these males calves are taken away from their mothers, immobilized in small wooden crates to keep their flesh tender, and fed fake food so people can “enjoy” their soft flesh after they are slaughtered. In 2001, over a million veal calves were slaughtered in the U.S.
The bottom line is that it boils down to an all familiar story: big business and the U.S. Government joining forces to dupe the American consumer. The USDA tells us to drink more milk while subsidizing large dairy farms and federally mandating dairy consumption and flesh eating for schoolchildren. The government spends billions to buy unused milk and dairy products, while the industry spends almost $200 million every year promoting dairy consumption. Meanwhile, the FDA and Monsanto conspire to pollute the already unhealthy dairy supply with a genetically engineered hormone banned virtually everywhere else in the world. Ain’t the road to profit at any cost, grand?
So while the American public can answer the absurd industry question, “Got Milk”? with a resounding, mustachioed “YES”, the better question might be whether people have gotten screwed in the process. In 1990, the Monsanto Company commissioned scientists to inject a bunch of laboratory rats with an early variant of recombinant Bovine Somatotropin (rBST), aka rBGH. The 90-day study demonstrated that rBGH was linked to development of prostate and thyroid cancer in rats.
Monsanto, our friend who gave us Agent Orange and spent 40 years covering up the effects of PCB’s, was about to seek approval for Posilac, the company’s commercialized form of rBGH. The study linking rBGH to cancer was submitted to the FDA, but somehow Posilac was still approved in 1994. With fingers pointing in both directions, those with opinions argue about who had the bigger part in the cover-up – Monsanto or the FDA. The results of the study, in fact, were not made available to the public until 1998, when a group of Canadian scientists obtained the full documentation and completed an independent analysis of the results. Among other instances of neglect, the documents showed that the FDA had never even reviewed Monsanto’s original studies (on which the approval of Posilac had been based), so in the end the point had no bearing on whether or not the report had contained all of the original data.
The FDA’s complicity continued; Michael Taylor, a Monsanto lawyer for many years, left in 1976 to become a staff lawyer for the FDA. In 1991, Taylor was appointed to the office of FDA’s Deputy Commissioner, serving in that capacity until 1994. The administration approved rBGH in 1993.
While at the FDA, Taylor also wrote the policy exempting rBGH and other biotech foods from special labeling, considered by most to be a major victory for Monsanto. Ten days after Taylor’s policy was finalized, his old law firm, still representing Monsanto, filed suit against two dairy farms that had labeled their milk rBGH free.
As soon as the Government Accounting Office released a report covering all of this, Taylor was removed to work for the USDA, as the Administrator of the Food safety and Inspection Service, a position he held from 1994 to 1996. After holding positions at both the FDA and the USDA, Taylor went back to working for Monsanto, this time directly as the corporation’s Vice President of Public Policy.
Michael Taylor wasn’t the only government employee with an obvious conflict of interest. At the same time that Taylor left Monsanto for the FDA, Dr. Margaret Miller, once Monsanto’s top scientist, was also hired by the FDA to review her own scientific research conducted during her tenure at Monsanto. This is worth repeating. A woman who was once Monsanto’s top scientist was hired by the FDA to review her own scientific research while she was with Monsanto. So much for “…for the people”. In her role as FDA scientist, Miller made the official decision to increase the amount of permissible antibiotic residues in milk by a hundred-fold, in part to counter the increase of mastitis in cows due to overuse of artificial growth hormones. These incestuous relationships between industry and the U.S. government are the norm rather than the exception. Decisions at the FDA are made primarily by advisory boards comprised of scientists and executives from the dairy and meat industries, with a few university academics thrown in for good measure.
A word of good advice to adhere to: If man made it and you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it!
We live in a world governed by greed, dishonesty, and lack of compassion. To survive we must rely on our innate intelligence and to what our bodies tell us. We must shake ourselves free from the pharmaceutical-medical-insurance cartel and put the control of our health back into our hands. We, in order to achieve good health and a good quality of life, must transcend the endless messages we are bombarded with through the various media outlets and be sensible.
To get on the road to recovery, to lose our
dependence on prescription meds, to cure our ills and not just relieve
symptoms, we must eliminate the
causes from touching our lips. Flesh foods, found in anything that walks,
runs, flies, crawls, or swims and dairy products, are loaded with artery
clogging saturated fat. Processed foods, refined grains (white, in this case
is not right), sugary foods like sodas, cookies, cakes, etc., and eggs, have
go. The yolks are high in cholesterol and the whites because of their
hardening effect, are used as a base in aircraft paint because they can
withstand the effects of extreme weather conditions. If you don’t believe me
and you still eat eggs, the next time you eat eggs, don’t wash your dish for
a day or two and see what happens. Then decide if you want to continue
putting this in your body. Take the time to prepare you own meals, slow
down, and try to relax. Even get involved in a meditation process. There are
so many avenues of education available to you: The Vegetarian Society, the
Tasty and Meatless tv show, Dr. Shintani’s radio show, “Nutrition and You”,
and my radio show, “Health Talk”. Life is too short to not make the most of
Let today be the day you take the first step in the marathon of life.
Display this sign at the entrance to your home and business!