Fox Guards the Henhouse in America’s Ongoing Food Fight
Sep 12th, 2011 | By David | Category: Agri-Giants and GMOs, Food, Top Headline | Print This Article
One of the great lies told by the media and those in power is that our political system actually provides voters with real choices. Conflict between the two political parties, or between the president and Congress, is portrayed as some kind of titanic struggle between competing ideologies with different visions for America.
And yet, mysteriously, as individual politicians come and go, and the balance of power constantly shifts back and forth between Democrats and Republicans, somehow nothing ever changes. Or more correctly, things just keep getting worse.
In reality, there is no mystery here at all. Inconvenient concepts like belief and principle have long since given way to the demands of power politics in the corporate age, where anything that serves the interests of big corporations and mega-banks is good, and anything else is just fodder for empty rhetoric meant to con chronically gullible voters into choosing one lying party over the other.
Of Puppets and Men
In the game of meaningless speech making and political chatter, one of the most persistent memes propagated by Democrats is that they are the party that always looks out for the interests of the little guy, protecting average people against unscrupulous companies and individuals who are looking to exploit them whenever there is a profit to be made. Once in office, however, Democrat politicians at all levels of government frequently favor the interests of corporations over those of the common man.
If you want to find the quintessential example of this phenomenon in action, look no further than the decision by President Obama to appoint a former vice president and chief lobbyist for a giant agricultural biotechnology corporation as his “food czar.” What this means it that a powerful agribusiness insider is the senior adviser to the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, which is allegedly responsible for policing the very industry that spawned the unelected position of “food czar” in the first place.
FDA Complicity in the Disaster of Genetically Modified Agriculture
Actually, this food czar is already quite familiar with the FDA.
In the 1990s, the FDA’s own scientists were recommending against approval of GM food-related products such as bovine growth hormone and genetically engineered seeds until extensive testing had been completed. But the FDA’s civilian policy makers, at the urging of big agriculture and the biotech industry, ignored the requests of their scientists and approved GM products for release on the market without any safety testing at all. And for all of you who may be anticipating where this is going, yes, your intuitions are correct – the chief civilian policy maker at the time this decision was made is the very same man who is now President Obama’s chief civilian policy maker on issues related to food in the current administration.
Since the disastrous decision to allow untested genetically engineered food and food-related products on the market, the health of the American people has been spiraling steadily downward. Over the past fifteen years, the number of people suffering from multiple chronic illnesses has doubled, while the number of people brought into emergency rooms for allergy-related reasons has skyrocketed. Rates of asthma, autism, obesity, diabetes, and digestive disorders have been exploding without any obvious explanation. While there is no direct proof that GM food-related products are responsible for any of this, the possibility of these kinds of problems occurring are exactly the sort of thing that the FDA’s own scientists were warning about.
Certain types of cancer have also been increasing, and in this context, it is worth noting that one of the side effects of bovine growth hormone use in dairy cows is that it causes a spike in their production of a chemical called insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1). The presence of this substance is known to be a risk factor for cancer in human beings, and it was the possible contamination of milk with IGF-1 that so alarmed FDA scientists studying bovine growth hormone.
But President Obama’s food czar, in his former role in the FDA, was not content to simply ignore his own scientists and approve genetically modified agricultural products. It was also his idea to force any company labeling their milk products as “BGH free” to also include a disclaimer stating that no evidence existed linking BGH to any health problems in human beings. That was despite the fact that FDA scientists claimed that such health hazards were both possible and likely, and that subsequent testing has found many reasons to be alarmed. But for powerful insiders like this food czar, who worked for the very agricultural biotechnology company at the center of the GM food controversy both immediately before and immediately after his previous stint at the FDA, the real evidence about and the real health effects of genetically engineered food products are irrelevant. When there is money to be made by giant corporations, that is all that matters—the healthy and safety of the American people be damned.
There is no doubt that this appointment proves that no one in the corridors of power is looking out for the welfare of the common man, political rhetoric notwithstanding. Besides compromising food safety, the other significant result of this appointment is that it will inevitably help to reinforce the FDA’s bias against small independent farmers and food producers – like the raw milk sellers who are currently being victimized by an FDA blood vendetta. Non-corporate producers of anything are one of the few remaining threats to corporate hegemony, and as such, a silent war has been declared against them at all levels of our “democratic” government.
For our corporate masters and their puppets in government, we are all just a source of profits to be milked to the point of exhaustion before being tossed aside. Given this reality, it is hardly surprising that the U.S. food czar would be a representative of the corporate army that is seeking to conquer us all. When you think about it, how could it be any other way?
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