May 7, 2009
The Food and Drug Administration is failing to meet its goals for auditing food-safety inspections that states do on its behalf.
FDA’s own data show the FDA fell short of its goal in at least 17 of 39 states it paid to do inspections in the 2007-08 contract year. In five states, the FDA did no audits.
State agencies do half the FDA’s food inspections. The FDA aims to audit 7% to help make sure states do good inspections.
Data for the 2006-07 year show its audit goal was unmet in 21 of 37 states. In eight states, no audits were done. In 1998, the FDA did no audits in 21 of 38 states, said the Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General in a 2000 report.
The states that weren’t audited in 2007-08 were Maryland, Wyoming, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska.
No data were available for Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Nevada. The year before, no audits occurred in Texas, which has one of the biggest FDA contracts. It should have had 48 audits for 685 inspections, the FDA says.
Reacting to a growing public health problem, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $466,125 research grant to the Mount Sinai School of Medicine to investigate the mechanisms that make food allergies occur and pinpoint what triggers them. Within the biotechnology sector, EPA regulates the proteins used as pesticides that are introduced to our food supply and aims to ensure that these do not have adverse health impacts. The innovative microbiology study will examine the genetic factors that contribute to the spread of food allergy by closely examining its pathogenesis or step-by-step development.
“Food allergies affect six to eight percent of children in the U.S., but there is a shortage of information on how food allergies develop and how to prevent them,” said George Pavlou, Acting EPA Regional Administrator. “An important component of EPA’s biotechnology research is to improve our understanding of the health effects from genetically engineering proteins. This study will bring us closer to identifying environmental or dietary triggers that lead to food allergy.”
To date, no adverse health effects attributed to genetically engineered foods have been documented in the human population. However, the majority of soybeans, as well as large proportions of corn, canola, and cotton crops produced worldwide are genetically engineered with custom made proteins for resistance to pests. The results of the EPA funded research will be used to better predict if the development of dietary allergens is connected with genetic engineering of foods.
EPA regulates the use of all pesticides in the U.S., including pesticide proteins introduced into food through genetic engineering. EPA has a regulatory power to establish acceptable levels for pesticide residues and evaluate human health and ecological risks under authority of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
For more details about the project go to: http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncer_abstracts/index.cfm/fuseaction/display.abstractDetail/abstract/8939/report/0
Yesterday the Food and Drug Administration announced a proposed delay in the implementation of the final rule entitled, “Substances Prohibited from Use in Animal Food or Feed” or more commonly referred to as the 2008 BSE final rule. BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy), otherwise known as mad cow disease, is a fatal disease that causes progressive neurological degeneration in cattle. Similar to BSE, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) is a fatal, neurodegenerative disease, transmitted to human beings who eat the brain or spinal cord of infected carcassesis.
The final rule, which would have gone into effect on April 27, 2009, is proposed to be delayed 60 days to June 26, 2009. A group of meat packers and others involved in the slaughter of cattle have asked for the delay with some help from the U.S. Congress.
The use of cattle parts in cattle feed has not been allowed since 1997 in the United States and the enhanced FDA rule would prohibit using cattle parts in all animal feed.
“This is because in Canada and Europe, and elsewhere, they found there would be cross contamination in feed for poultry…that found its way into cattle feed, and as a result BSE was able to amplify “explained R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard. Read the rest of this entry »
April 11, 2009
Between 2003 and 2007, the FDA’s main food-safety arm lost 20 percent of its science staff and 600 inspectors. The United States gets 15 percent of its food from foreign countries, including 60 percent of its fresh fruits and vegetables and 75 percent of its seafood, but just 1 percent of all imported food is inspected.
April 7, 2009
Total Lobbying Expenditures: $8,831,120
Monsanto CEO Letter to Annual Shareholders
“…In describing our financial results for fiscal 2008, it is very gratifying to repeat a message you have heard for what is now the past five fiscal years: We achieved new records in net sales and net income. …Along the way in 2008, we made several acquisitions that bolster our business across our key crops and complement the organic growth we continue to enjoy. We also garnered meaningful share gains in the United States and Argentina. And we obtained a number of key regulatory approvals for our game-changing technologies that will support our long-term growth. It is against this backdrop that we made the confident yet carefully considered commitment to more than double our 2007 gross profit by 2012 — raised from our previous forecasts…” Hugh Grant, Monsanto President and CEO
In keeping with its commitment to deliver innovations for agriculture, Monsanto Company announced on March 9 that it has completed regulatory submissions in the U.S. and Canada for the world’s first biotech drought-tolerant corn product developed together with Germany-based BASF. The company applied for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approval of its drought-tolerant corn product following its submission to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last December.
Monsanto invests more than $2.6 million per day on leading agricultural research.
April 5, 2009
HR 875, also being referred to as “Monsanto’s Dream Bill, is a bill before the House that is says it will “protect the public health by preventing food-borne illness, ensuring the safety of food, improving research on contaminants leading to food-borne illness, and improving security of food from intentional contamination, and for other purposes.” Sounds good at first glance but this bill is about more than protecting our food supply, it’s about controlling it.
Believe it or not, Monsanto wants one of their own employees, Mr. Michael Taylor, to be named as Food Safety Tsar in a proposed new Food Safety Administration. (http://www.lavidalocavore.org/showDiary.do?diaryId=1234). This is the man who forced genetically engineered rBGH on us (unlabeled, and without warning) when he was placed over “food safety” in the 90s. HR 875 would give him immense power over what is done on every single farm in the country.
This bill would make it a crime to run seed banks. It would also mandate 24 hour GPS tracking of farm animals and impose industrial standards upon small, private farmers.
Monsanto is already in the business of genetically modifying seeds so that they cannot reproduce. (See Monsanto, the bad seed). Monsanto already controls a huge percentage of the (genetically modified) food production for the entire world.
For more information on HR 875 go to:
While reading through the bill, keep in mind, Rep Rosa Delauro (who introduced this bill) is married to Stanley Greenberg, President of Greenberg-Quinlan Research, Inc., a public issues research and polling firm. “Greenberg has worked with corporate clients including BP, Boeing, Monsanto, Comverse, and United HealthCare.” (http://www.greenbergresearch.com/index.php?ID=403). A little conflict of interest?
Take one minute and voice your concerns! Go to:
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-875 and click on “Ways To Take Action.”
You can also call, email, fax your representatives! Contact your members at 202-224-3121 and ask them to oppose HR 875 and S 425. While you are at it ask them if they personally have read the legislation and what their position is? Let them know you’re holding them accountable.
On Friday, the FDA said that levels of melamine below 2.5 parts per million (ppm) in food does not pose a health risk to humans. The only exception is infant formula in which no safe level has been set.
This action brought a strong rebuke from Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Chairwoman of the Agriculture– Food and Drug Administration subcommittee.
“While other countries throughout the world, including the European Union, are acting to ban melamine-contaminated products from China, the FDA has chosen to establish an acceptable level for melamine in food in an attempt to convince consumers that it is not harmful,” she said. “Not only is this is an insult to consumers, but it would appear that the FDA is condoning the intentional contamination of foods.”
By not insisting on a zero-tolerance policy with melamine, DeLauro said the FDA is failing to protect consumers, and is undercutting state officials in their efforts to keep melamine-tainted products out of stores. Read the rest of this entry »