Category Archives: #marchMay21

Victory! Former Monsanto Vice President Finally Stepping Down as FDA “Food Czar”

taylor monsanto

Former Monsanto VP and FDA Deputy Commissioner of Foods Michael Taylor.

 

Was it a conflict of interest when former Monsanto Vice President Michael Taylor was named as the “Food Czar,” aka the Deputy Commissioner of Foods for then-new President Barack Obama’s FDA?

One thing’s for sure: it was an incredible betrayal to the millions of people who got behind Obama’s campaign in large part because he really seemed to “get it” like few other political candidates before him; as evidenced by his emphatic promise to label GMOs (that of course never came to fruition even though 90 percent-plus Americans routinely support mandatory labeling, a right afforded in over 60 countries across the world).

Now, after years of hand-wringing, frustration and anger from the general populace toward Taylor’s appointment, the “Monsanto Man” is finally set to step down, on (approximately) June 1 of this year according to a new article from the website Food & Water Watch.

“Our magnificently diverse food system is full of challenges and opportunities, and I plan to continue working toward its success, especially in settings where people lack regular accesses to sufficient, nutrition and safe food,” Taylor wrote in a letter to friends according to the article. “I suspect our paths will cross again.”

To the countless people who petitioned against the clear conflict of interest of hiring Taylor and other strongly pro-Monsanto people to be put in charge of the food system, his final comments sound like more of the same, like Taylor never quite got the message: “safe food” and “diverse food system” read like classic GM industry PR talking points. The U.S. food system remains heavily dominated by mostly genetically engineered commodity crops like corn and soy which are heavily subsidized by U.S. taxpayers.

It is not known whether Taylor will rejoin the government or FDA at some point but as the above article mentions he has strong ties to Monsanto:

As a young lawyer at the firm of King & Spalding, he worked with Monsanto as a client before joining FDA. When he left government the first time after working for both FDA and USDA, he did a stint as vice president for public policy at Monsanto before doing additional academic and think tank work.

Dr. Stephen Ostroff, the FDA’s acting commissioner, will take over Taylor’s duties according to the article, bringing a Western medicine-based background to the agency.

Ostroff has been with the FDA since 2013 as chief medical officer in the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition and was also the senior public health adviser to FDA’s Office of Foods and Veterinary Medicine. He has “consulted for the World Bank and public health projects in South Asia and Latin America.” In addition, he will be working with new head of the FDA Robert Califf, who has extremely strong ties to Big Pharma.

What this could mean for Monsanto and GMOs remains to be seen, but with pro-Monsanto Congresspeople continuing to secretly push bills that would deny our right to mandatory labeling, it’s important to continue to follow these developments.

Check out the Food & Water Watch article on Taylor by clicking here, and you can also watch a segment on Taylor during which he was grilled by a French journalist about a “conflict of interest” by clicking on this link (his response is quite emblematic of the entire Monsanto-friendly era ushered in by Obama and other establishment members from both political parties, and its distinct lack of accountability).

Victory!! Monsanto’s DARK Act (Barely) Blocked By Senate

The efforts of millions of concerned citizens, numerous phone and email campaigns, dozens of online petitions, and trips to D.C. to lobby for our right to know were not in vain.

Leading the charge today, Senator Jeff Merkely demolished the pro-industry talking points that many of our senators lean on in order to further their agenda. The Senate blocked Senator Pat Robert’s cloture, 48-49, that would have allowed for the advancement of a bill to deny Americans the right to know what is in the food that lines our store shelves.

 

“Do not crush state’s rights, do not steal consumer’s right to know, and try to do it in the dark of night while the nation is distracted by major primaries. It is wrong on policy, it’s wrong on process, and it’s an injustice to every citizen in our nation,” proclaimed Senator Merkley.

 

While today is a huge victory for the safe food movement and consumers everywhere, a dark cloud does hang over the vote as nearly half of our senators voted in favor of the bill rather than against it. The required 60 votes needs to move the cloture forward did not happen, so despite a corrupt attempt by nearly half of the Senate body, the bill was blocked.

Nearly 100% of Americans are in favor of a mandatory, on-package labeling standard, yet our elected officials are far more concerned with campaign finance money they are receiving from biotech and big food corporations. According to the FEC website, this week alone hundreds of thousands of dollars have been pumped into senate re-election campaigns. GMO labeling is a right afforded to citizens in over 60 countries, including Russia and China. In fact, numerous countries are making moves to ban GMOs, while our government officials are making every nefarious stride to ban GMO labeling.

I must commend Sen. Jeff Merkley’s courageous speech on the Senate floor today. He is a beacon of hope in a cesspool of biotech-loving scum. Senator Merkley called out the sham proposals offered by his associates which include a 1-800 number, QR codes, and social media investigating in order to obtain information on the food that lines our shelves. Calling it a “house of mirrors”, Merkley implored his fellow senators to honor the ‘one second test’ demanded by 9 out of 10 Americans. This ‘test’ would simply require a symbol or a few words to be mandated on food packaging so the average consumer can quickly determine if an item contains GM ingredients.

Senator Merkley went on to question his fellow senators, “Why is this bill before us? I ask you, why a bill that say the interests of a few titans in crushing a state laboratory are more important than the views of 90% of Americans?”

We must flex our muscle and show our politicians, as well as unethical corporations, that we the people have the power. Remember how your senator voted in November. It is time to clean house and get rid of career politicians who cashed in their morals long ago. Continue to vote with your wallets. Clearly, this is where our strength lies. They can take away our rights, but they cannot force us to buy toxic, chemical-laden products. Vote wisely with your dollars. Do not support companies who pump millions into denying our right to know.

Pledge to join March Against Monsanto’s global action on May 21, 2016. Hundreds of cities all across the globe will march in solidarity in an effort to raise community awareness about Monsanto, their atrocious crimes against humanity, and the complicity of our elected officials. Find your local event here. For questions or to register a city not on our list, please email addmymarch@gmail.com.

This fight is far from over.