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"Prior to the FDA's issuance of its May 1992 policy statement presuming that GE foods are generally recognized as safe (GRAS), its own experts had expressed concerns about the unique potential health hazards of these new foods in numerous memos to agency decision-makers. The pervasiveness of the concerns within the scientific staff is attested by a memo from an FDA official stating: "The processes of genetic engineering and traditional breeding are different, and according to the technical experts in the agency, they lead to different risks." (FDA Administrative Record)"

sprouting field

"Accordingly, it is obvious that the FDA's claims (issued in May, 1992 and repeated up to the present) that there is general recognition of safety are not only false but fraudulent. Moreover, the agency has flatly denied having any information showing that GE foods differ in any meaningful way from other foods, even though its own files are replete with such information, much of it from its own experts. One of the most blatant examples of such fraudulent misrepresentation is the following assertion in the agency's formal policy statement of May 29, 1992: "The agency is not aware of any information showing that foods derived by these new methods differ from other foods in any meaningful or uniform way..." It is difficult for a reasonable man or woman to regard this statement as anything other than a calculated attempt to deceive the public and evade the law."

from comments to the FDA prepared by
Steven M. Druker, Executive Director [Alliance for Bio-Integrity]


Why It's In Your Food

by Candace Boheme
Smithville Times
November 9, 2000

The regulatory era may have started with industries manipulating the government in their own best interest but regulatory legislation has also been initiated through public pressure for the government to curtail harmful industrial practices, set safety guidelines and protect natural resources. When WE THE PEOPLE demand it, surely, those regulatory agencies serve the public's best interest. Don't count on it.

In 1907, after 25 years of public agitation over harmful food adulteration and misbranding, the Bureau of Chemistry, precursor of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), was officially put in charge of policing the food supply. Bureau Chief Harvey W. Wiley, the Ralph Nader of his day, took on the food processing industry with a vengeance.

The Coca-Cola corporation was at the top of his hit list. But any hopes that enforcement could become reality were quickly put to rest. Political influence worked its magic and Coca-Cola flourished with impunity. His efforts to restrict use of the sweetener, saccharin, met with similar misfortune through savvy industry maneuvering that played on President Teddy Roosevelt's personal use of the substance. Gradually the Bureau's activities were restricted into impotence and those substances that Dr. Wiley fought so hard to remove from the food supply were instead removed from the Bureau's consideration.

Dr. Wiley's 1929 book, The History of a Crime Against the Food Law detailed and exposed the dealings that had scuttled the Bureau's effectiveness. Copies flew off bookstore shelves and mysteriously disappeared into oblivion. Even those donated to libraries intending to preserve the sordid history vanished. Hardly a one can be found today. You follow the dots. So much for freedom of the press in corporate America.

The Bureau of Chemistry was replaced by the Food and Drug and Insecticide Administration which eventually evolved into the Food and Drug Administration. Along the way, the watchdogs of food safety were transformed into cheerleaders for the processed food industry turning priorities upside down. Industry no longer had to prove additives safe BEFORE entering the food supply. Instead Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS) substances were allowed UNTIL evidence proved them harmful. Sixty years after Dr. Wiley's crusade, saccharin was finally removed from the GRAS list. But the loophole allowing its use in diet food left the victory hollow.

The corporate/FDA partnership continues to this day. In recent years, their enthusiastic support of food irradiation, despite public opposition, has been blatant evidence of their lovefest. Irradiation, they say, is the solution to an increasingly contaminated food supply. Instead of addressing the economic and labor practices responsible for creating a filthy, industrialized food processing industry, they have cooked up a 'bandaid' solution that will only compound risks to consumers and endanger hundreds of irradiation facility sites with the possibility of nuclear contamination. Produce, grains, spices, pork, poultry and beef have already been approved for irradiation.

By the way, another player, the Department of Energy's (DOE) Byproduct Utilization Program (BUP), is in on this one. They have decided that a cost effective solution to their radioactive waste disposal problem is to privatize it for corporate profit and let the public bear the health, environmental and negative financial consequences.

At one time, prominent labeling with the radura symbol, a visible deterrent to wary consumers, and the words 'treated by irradiation' was required. Now, thanks to their congressional buddies, labeling will only be required in the fine print on the back of a package. Irradiation may not even be mentioned by name. Be on the lookout for euphemisms like 'cold pasteurization'. Have you lost your appetite yet?

#8 of  Whose Democracy?

© 2000  by Candace Boheme

Read all the Whose Democracy? editorials

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The basis for much of this editorial column is derived from the 1975 best-selling classic, SUGAR BLUES by William Dufty, which details the genesis of the FDA.  Here are a few excerpts from the relevant chapter:

Codes of Honesty

The Pure Food and Drug Laws are frequently regarded as landmarks in the history of social legislation. Certainly, government can have no higher aim than to attempt to protect the health of the people. Perhaps biological decline was well along when it became necessary to pass laws to prevent people, out of excessive devotion to moneymaking, from poisoning one another.

"When people lost sight of the way to live," wrote Lao Tsu. "came codes of love and honesty."

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The campaign for passage of the Pure Food and Drug Laws had been conducted out in the open. Its undoing was accomplished in the dark. Food processors and rectified whiskey makers formed a united front to sabotage Wiley and his bureau. Representatives of the food business camped on the doorsteps of legislators, cabinet officers, and the president of the United States, complaining that sacred capital was being confiscated, praying, begging, and blackmailing for relief from the policies of Wiley and his bureau.

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Upton Sinclair's book The Jungle had helped turn the tide in favor of the Pure Food and Drug Laws. After he left government, Dr. Wlley wrote a book telling the whole sordid story of how those laws had been scuttled from within government. He knew where the bodies were buried, and he resolved to tell it all and let the American people get riled up once again. However, he was no politician. Again he underestimated the forces arrayed against him. Wiley, undertaking to finance his book, turned his precious manuscript over to a printer. That manuscript mysteriously 'disappeared" and has never been found to this day. Just how these things are done is rarely uncovered.

Shattered but unbroken, Dr. Wiley valiantly returned to work, rewriting his book from scratch. This chore occupied him totally for ten years. He tried to update matters, but by 1929 many of his shocking revelations were already old hat. Some of the villains were dead. Most of the politicians had passed on or at least out of power. Still, his volume The History of a Crime Against the Food Law was a primer on government corruption, quite unlike anything that had ever been written before. This time, be tried to protect himself. He took no chances on the manuscript getting lost again. Every facet of its production and printing was personally supervised by Wiley. When distribution began in 1929, it looked like a best seller. Books disappeared rapidly from bookstore shelves. Yet no letters were received from readers, no congratulations, no kudos, and virtually no reviews. The books kept on disappearing, yet copies could not be found anywhere.

In desperation, Dr. Wiley put the few remaining books in libraries around the country - they disappeared from libraries as quickly as they had vanished from the stores. Try your neighborhood library today and see if you can find a copy. It should surprise no one today that these things can happen, when the advertising budget for one food conglomerate is larger than the entire annual budget of the government agency charged with policing the industry.

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The Bureau of Chemistry was finally legally dismantled. In its place, the Food and Drug and Insecticide Administration, precursor of the Food and Drug Administration was established. The Poison Squad, that group of healthy young men on whom Dr. Wiley had tested proposed new food additives before allowing the foods to be turned loose on the public at large, was ultimately replaced by the FDA's GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe) list - a list of food colorings, additives, and adulterants. Manufacturers and food processors were given carte blanche to use practically anything in its products until evidence turned up that it might be injurious to the public health. The whole intent of the Pure Food and Drug Laws had been turned on its head.

The Poison Squad was enlarged to include everybody in the country. Today, the GRAS list has become so lengthy that the average American ingests five pounds of chemical additives every year, together with approximately another fifty pounds of hidden sugar.

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