[Michael Taylor] had been Monsanto's attorney before becoming policy chief at the FDA. Soon after, he became Monsanto's vice president and chief lobbyist.
Michael Taylor is the man placed by the biotech industry into the FDA during President Clinton's first term with the mission of ignoring the warnings of the scientific community regarding Genetically Modified Organisms [GMOs or genetically modified foods]:
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 visits doubled 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 Medicine concluded 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 inauguration of President Obama was viewed by many [and I have to admit that I shared some of that optimism] as the opportunity for real science to return to a prominent place in policy-making.
Instead, we get business-as-usual in the appointment of another lobbyist--this time one with a proven track record of ignoring scientific data with a fervor that would warm the heart of the most ardent climate-change denier.
Change? Or continuity of the worst kind?
And again I wonder: where are my liberal and progressive blogger friends on this umpteenth betrayal of candidate Obama's promise to take the people's business out of the hands of lobbyists?