By Jill Carlson
Steven Druker is a seasoned writer and attorney whose lawsuit finally forced the U.S Food and Drug Administration to disclose 44,000 pages of research studies and other files related to genetically modified organisms previously unavailable to the public.
Druker excels in digging through layers of corporate, government, university and medical history to reveal the daddy of all cover-ups: How the United States became the only super-power to consistently parrot the lie that genetically modified foods pose no threat to human health.
The evidence in Druker’s 500-page Altered Genes, Twisted Truth, is damning. Druker tell us that for nearly 40 years:
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA):
— allowed corporations to genetically re-make and patent plants
— never tested GMOs for human safety
— allowed corporations to do their own safety testing, all of it short-term.
— shifted to consumers the burden of proving any health damages
Genetically modified plants
— receive foreign genes (from viruses, fish, insects) to “remake” them
— do not behave in consistently programmed ways
— behave differently in the digestive tract than do classical foods
— are found in most packaged foods
— Tumors, severe health problems and inability to reproduce are commonplace in long term animal studies being conducted in recent years.
In the 1970s, the “precautionary principle” — caution and care — were the bywords of genetic engineers, who were hesitant to test their new plants in open fields. Then presidents Reagan and Bush de-regulated many industries, and the FDA took this for permission to presume that genetically modified crops are “substantially equivalent” to those bred conventionally. It’s a brave hope to think that U.S. presidents have been adequately advised in regard to GMO safety. Sidetracking them, says Druker, are “eminent scientists and scientific institutions.” All with their own agenda.
Druker speaks of “should do” and “if only”, as if the government could or would require the proper channels to consumer safety “if only” the public asked them to. But his own book makes it clear that the pathways to proof are continually sidetracked by moneyed and political interests.
Bill Gates, founder of one of the most prestigious global software companies, ignores his own standard for software testing when he promotes the global use of GMO crops. If he applied those casual GMO safety standards to medical software, he would generate millions of lawsuits as one medical device after another broke down in a series of domino accidents.
And yet, genomes, DNA and plant reproduction are radically more complex than software programs, and no scientist yet has been able to predict exactly how a plant will behave once injected with DNA.
As Druker says, the current “wisdom” is that there’s no need to pass new laws… just enforce the ones that are on the books. Unfortunately, the grownups are not in charge.
This book review is by Jill Carlson, who remembers her father: “Dr. M. R. Clarkson, DVM, J.D., was the first administrator (1965) of the FDA’s new veterinary branch (Bureau of Veterinary Medicine ). A man of impeccable integrity, he would have been alarmed and astounded to hear of the current FDA’s flimsy GMO safety protocols. Where are those cautious people today, who have the protection of citizens in mind?”