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Controversy Through Association: FDA Deputy Commissioner and His Monsanto History

By admin | March 19, 2012

Photo: Daniel Lobo

Photo: Daniel Lobo

By: Michael Engle

As widely seen during our national campaign time, often times, controversy can arise from previously held professional associations by certain candidates.  A similar debate is arising in Washington, D.C. in regard to food politics, as Stephanie Armour reports for Bloomberg.

Michael Taylor is employed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), where he currently serves as the deputy commissioner for food safety.  Previously, Taylor served as the FDA’s deputy commissioner for policy; however, for 16 months in between his FDA stints, he served as the vice-president of public policy at Monsanto.  Monsanto is a leading name in genetically-modified organism (GMO), or “Franken-food,” production.  This plants Taylor as a lightning rod of controversy, due to the fact that GMO’s are a polarizing subject in modern food politics.

Although GMO’s result in edible food and are beloved by mass producers (Imagine a rice field that will not drown in a monsoon, and keep its yield!), they are criticized for homogenizing the crop gene pool, forcing small-scale farmers out of business, and proliferating auto-immune diseases among humans.  In fact, 1,000 acres of Monsanto-brand GMO corn was discovered and destroyed in Hungary, where GMO’s are banned; Peru also recently voted to ban GMO’s for the next ten years.

The million-dollar question will be answered with due diligence, but it can be worded succinctly: Can Michael Taylor perform his duties to the FDA, and, by proxy, to the American taxpayers, without exhibiting any biases in favor of Monsanto?  Read More

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Genetically Modified Crops and Their Genetically Modified Bugs

By admin | August 30, 2011

Photo: Peter Blanchard

Photo: Peter Blanchard

Reading about a super plague attacking genetically-modified corn seems like a story out of ancient times and the future put together. Yet, that is exactly what is occurring in the United States and Europe as we speak. As the debate of pros and cons of genetically-modified foods continues, this turn of events can count as a con to those rallying for GMO foods.

A pest has now succumbed to feeding off of genetically modified corn, though this type of corn was developed by Monsanto to thwart off rootworms. Ironically, nature still finds a way. Read More

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