By Ing Agr Adolfo Boy
When there are no ethics there are no limits and therefore,
"Efficient sanitary controls"
today, they don't mean anything.
Eating is a high-risk act,
However, shouting Beware !, is considered by the stablisment
a terrorist act, reprehensible.
Dr. Steven Drucker, talks about carnal relationships
between the public food safety agency and the transnationals in
the United States. Situation, that if it gets scared.
To resist means first of all to reject. Today, the insurgency consists of that rejection that has nothing negative, which is an indispensable, vital act. The top priority is to reject the economic horror, get out of the trap, and move on from there.
(A strange dictatorship)
The accusation of "scare" society, started from several lobbies of biotechnology when Greenpeace "scribbled" products with GMOs in some supermarkets.
The same defenders of the Argentine producer and consumer added that “the controls carried out on the released crops and food products were highly efficient, comparable to the strictest in the world and, on the other hand, they showed that in the European Union, the their fragility made them unable to detect and prevent mad cow ”.
Not long time has passed and, unfortunately, Argentine consumers were shocked by the degradation of the Ministry of Agriculture, responsible for releasing GM crops, and SENASA, intervened and acknowledging that the foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks had been hidden. As a consequence of "Efficient sanitary controls" cut ALL meat exports.
But already last year the GRR had warned about the dangers of the feed lot, referring to anabolics and antibiotics and the use of bone meal as a supplement (See article "Eating without Asking", SIREL). The newspaper "La Nación" admits that such a supplement has been used but that it is prohibited. Rare coincidence with the transgenic tobacco crops that were detected by the "scares" and that were later destroyed by the government since ... "they were not allowed .."
But returning to the use of animal meals, on March 13, 2001, "La Nación" published: BERLIN (EFE) .- “The Prime Minister of Bavaria, Edmund Stoiber, urged that the meat from Argentina be subjected to tests for the detection of mad cow disease. I am sure that the food produced in Germany is safer and of higher quality than many of the cheap products imported from other countries and continents ", assured the regional leader. The representative of Bavaria, the German state where more cases of cow were detected crazy, declared: "I demand that meat from Eastern Europe or Argentina be subjected to the same tests as German meat."
In order not to "scare us" we will have to wait for a German laboratory to do the tests. Our efficient control systems do not seem to meet "fragile European standards". As the old saying goes "the lie has short legs" and as it is now being discovered how official controls work in "a globalized model", where trade is handled from outside national borders, we want to add to the national scandal, the European , that of the efficiency paradigm: the FDA.
Last September, Dr. Steven Drucker, an American lawyer, was in Buenos Aires, who during his brief stay in Argentina, gave us his vast experience on the biotechnological revolution, its origins, its threats to civility, its deceptive silences. But above all things he left us with the gratifying certainty that the Risk-bearing globalization also offers us an opportunity to fight for a rational and fraternal relationship between human beings, the earth, and sustainable development (1).
Dr. Steven Drucker, whom we followed in his lectures and at times we were able to dialogue with him, brought us a question as dramatic as it was sincere, "Do not follow the opinions of the Food and Drug Administration of my country (FDA, for its acronym in English), For 8 years that Agency has been lying to us, us Americans and you ”. "For this I ask your forgiveness ... Argentina has been deceived by my country." What follows are highlights of the many lectures he gave during his marathon stay.
"How much I wish that, just as spring symbolizes the awakening of nature, today Argentina awakens to the truth"he pointed out in strong terms. Drucker is an expert on the subject of genetic engineering, his answers are well-founded, solid and thorough: “I have known about food since the time of atomic irradiation, since then I have the project of writing a book on the integration of religion, science and ethics. But the more I investigated with the book idea, the more I began to worry about genetic manipulation of food. One morning in August 1996, I decided to abandon the entire book project and dedicate myself fully to the formation of the Alliance that would formalize the lawsuit, which was finalized on May 27, 1998, when the Alliance for Bio-Integrity filed a lawsuit totally unprecedented, against the FDA. "
“With the contribution of scientists, health professionals, religious leaders, and consumers, mandatory testing and labeling of all genetically modified foods was demanded. The lawsuit alleges that current FDA policy, which allows such genetically altered foods to be marketed without testing or labeling, violates the agency's statutory mandates to protect public health and provide consumers with relevant information about the foods they eat. ”.
“As a result of the judicial presentation, we were given a file of 44,000 pages with internal documents, from FDA scientists, in those records it is revealed that the FDA bureaucracy declared GM foods as safe, despite broad disagreement from their own experts, claiming also overwhelming majority among scientists. Aside from contradicting the FDA's claim that its decisions are based on science, this evidence shows that the agency violated United States law by allowing genetically modified foods to be marketed without first being tested as safe, in the theory that they are generally recognized as safe. "
Dr. Drucker tells the story of the beginning of this biotechnological revolution, which in Argentina in particular in academic fields, has been received as a panacea: “The FDA received express orders to promote the biotech industry. This policy began under the Reagan - Bush administration (1981-1988) and has continued under the Clinton - Gore administration. Furthermore, when in 1991 the FDA created a new position, Commissioner for Policy, to oversee the enforcement of policy on genetically modified foods. To that position was appointed Michael Taylor, a Washington, DC attorney, who had been representing Monsanto and other members of the biotech industry on regulatory issues. During his tenure, the FDA scientists' warnings were consistently ignored. Subsequently, Mr. Taylor was hired by Monsanto as Vice President of Public Policy. Furthermore, when Vice President Dan Quayle introduced the final FDA policy in 1992, Dr. Taylor referred to this as regulatory relief for the biotech industry. "
“The FDA scientists themselves rejected the attempt to equate bioengineering with conventional breeding. The White House directive, in the sense of promoting biotechnology, advocated the premise that genetically altered foods are essentially the same as others. However, the attempts of the agencies to accommodate their policies to conform to the directives received, meet strong resistance. Numerous experts from the agency protested saying that the proposal they had submitted had been ignored, as well as the recognition of the potential of genetic engineering in producing unexpected and unpredictable toxins, carcinogens and allergens, risks normally unrelated to conventional genetic improvement.
Dr. Drucker brought up the comments made by Dr. Louis Pribyl of the FDA's Microbiology Group, who said: "There is a profound difference between the kinds of unexpected effects of traditional genetics and genetic engineering ... some aspects of gene splitting ... can be more risky."
For his part, Dr. E.J. Matthews of the Toxicology Group cautioned that: ". Genetically modified plants may contain unexpected toxins of uniquely different chemical composition than usual." Another warning was provided by the Director of the Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), who also asked that genetically modified products be demonstrated to be safe, prior to commercialization. Specifically he said: "The CVM believes that animal feed derived from genetically modified plants represents a particular concern for animal and food safety." He explained that residues of unexpected substances can make meat and milk products that are harmful to humans.
Numerous domestic criticisms are summarized by Dr. Linda Kahl, who served as compiler of the information within the agency, and concluded that it “Trying to fit a square wedge into a round hole; trying to force the conclusion, that there is no difference between foods modified by genetic engineering and foods modified by traditional improvement ", stated: "The processes of genetic engineering and traditional breeding are different and, according to the expert technicians at the agency, they lead to different risks." The FDA distorts reality, since the agency not only knew of the concern of its own experts, it also knew that there was a majority disagreement in the scientific community about genetically modified foods. For example, the FDA Biotechnology Coordinator acknowledged in a letter to a Canadian official on October 23, 1991, that there was no scientific consensus regarding safety. He also admitted, "I think the question that some substances potentially cause allergic reactions is particularly difficult to predict."
Ignoring the lack of consensus and the difficulties in proving that they are not allergenic, in an official FDA dispatch # 8217 of May 1992 states: The agency is not advised of any information showing that foods derived from these new methods differ from other foods in in some meaningful or uniform way ”(2).
“Furthermore, the FDA distorted the tests that had been performed. Calgene, a breeder of the Flavr Savr tomato - the first genetically modified complete food offered for sale in the North American market - voluntarily and to offer the public safety tests, subjected it to feeding studies, and asked the FDA to review the information obtained by a private laboratory. FDA scientists noted a pattern of stomach injuries that led to safety concerns and repeatedly requested more trials. None were carried out. Consequently, FDA experts concluded "the data is insufficient for a demonstration of safety, there are still unresolved questions." However, the FDA not only approved the tomato, but also ensured that all relevant safety issues had been satisfactorily resolved and as a consequence that the Flavr Savr performed so well, it will be unnecessary for each subsequent genetically modified food to go through the tests. same rigorous tests.
To date, there is no reliable evidence showing that any have successfully met the standard that the Flavr Savr failed to meet. Furthermore, the government consistently misrepresents the fact that in 1989 a genetically modified food killed dozens of Americans and permanently maimed more than 1,500. That product (a supplement to the amino acid L-Tryptophan) contaminates at least one unusual toxin, never found in conventionally produced shipments. Many experts think that the bioengineering process is the possible cause of toxicity, and the coordinator in biotechnology admits that this possibility cannot be excluded (3). But in public expressions, FDA officials have concealed the fact that the fatal product was the result of bioengineering and instead blamed dietary supplements; and other government spokesmen persistently proclaim that no GM food has ever harmed a consumer.
In addition to violating basic canons of ethics, the FDA's behavior violates the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of the United States, which establishes that new foods and additives are proven safe by testing, before being marketed. While the FDA admits that bioengineering organisms fall within this provision, it assures that they are exempt from testing because they are generally recognized as safe (GRAS), even knowing that not even their own scientists have recognized them as safe.
Beyond the statute, it prescribes that additives, such as those in genetically engineered foods, can only be recognized as safe, based on tests that have been established to be harmless. But such tests do not exist for GM foods. Thus, although the exception of GRAS, which was understood, to allow the sale of substances whose safety had already been demonstrated through trials, the FDA is using it to circumvent testing and to approve new substances, based largely on conjecture conjecture that it is doubt in the eyes of its own experts and of many others. “Consequently, every genetically modified food in the United States is on the market illegally and must be recalled for rigorous safety testing. The FDA has deliberately released a handful of potentially harmful foods on the American table. "
The signatory scientists of the lawsuit and components of the Alliance are:
· Dr. Richard Strohman, Emeritus Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California, Berkeley.
Dr. Philip J. Regal, Professor of Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution at the University of Minnesota.
· Dr. John Fagan, Professor of Molecular Biology at Maharishi International University in Iowa.
· Dr. Liebe Cavalieri, Molecular Biologist, Professor, Division of Natural Sciences, New York State University at Purchase.
· Dr. David Ehrenfeld, Professor of Biology, Rutgers University.
· Dr. David Fankhauser, Professor of Biology and Chemistry, University of Cincinnati.
Hanif Khalak, Computational Biologist, From the Institute for Genomic Research,
· Dr. Gary Kaplan, Physician, PhD, Director of the Neurophysiology Clinic, North Shore
University Hospital; Associate Professor of Neurological Clinic, NYU School of Medicine.
· Dr. Rama Dwivedi, Associate Director, Targeted Mutagenesis, Department of
Pediatrics, Northwestern University, School of Medicine.
Dr. Steven Drucker, 53, grew up in a not very practicing Jewish family in Des Moines, Iowa, but while practicing law in Los Angeles, he joined a Torah study group, and was approached thus to Judaism and the idea that "We all have the mission of sustaining the INTEGRITY of God's creation, hence the name of the Alliance for BIO-INTEGRITY." It was its purpose then to include in said alliance, also religious leaders, who objected to the consumption of genetically modified foods, some of the signatories are:
· Reverend Dr. Colin B. Gracey, (Episcopalian) Chief of the Office of Religious Life at Northeast University in Boston and Chaplain University.
· Reverend Dr. Donald B. Conroy, (Roman Catholic) President of the North American Coalition of Religion and Ecology, Washington, D.C.
Reverend Dr. Margaret Mitchell, (Baptist) The Olivet Institute for Health & Education
· Reverend Paul C. Kucynda, Pastor of the Holy Spirit Orthodox Church, Wayne, NJ.
· Reverend Samuel Kedala, Pastor of the Holy Spirit Orthodox Church, Wantage, NJ.
· Reverend Dr. John Reigstad, Pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran American Church (ELCA), Jesup, Iowa; Lecturer in Religion at Wartburg College, Waverly, Iowa.
· Reverend Dr. DeWitt Williams, Director of Health Ministries (North American Division) of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Rabbi Harold S. White, (Reformist) Director of Jewish Chaplancy and Lecturer in Theology, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
· Rabbi Alan Green, (Conservative) Beth Israel Synagogue, Winnipeg (US citizen).
Rabbi Jossi Serebryanski, (Orthodox) Kosher Supervisor for Laboratories O.K. , Brooklyn, NY.
· Dr. Ron Epstein, Chancellor of the Buddhist Dharma Realm University of the Americas; Research Professor, Institute for World Religions, Berkeley, CA.
· Gayatri Pariwar-Yugnirman, Organization of the Hindu religion in the Chicago metropolitan area with approximately 1,000 members.
It is important to draw a parallel between what we have heard from Dr. Drucker and what we have to hear and know what happens in Argentina, where the procedural guidelines of the Food and Drug Administration are jointly followed by Argentine regulatory entities, which They permanently profess their admiration for what they consider to be a "model" in the world as a food safety and control agency.
Much more than that, it is surprising that the same words, expressions and arguments of the documentation that are questioned in the lawsuit of the Alliance for Biointegrity, are repeated in the form of documents, notes and conferences by officials of SAGPyA and SENASA, in the defined attitude of favoring GMO field tests and their subsequent release.
This is really "scary."
(1) Iglesias, Enildo 2000 Facing the Old Injustice, in the New Millennium "Wellbeing for All" Ediciones Rel-UITA
(2) Federal Register vol. 57, No. 104 at 22991
(3) FDA Administrative Record 22923
* Ing Agr Adolfo Boy
Rural Reflection Group- GRR