Food Safety News just presented their annual Naughty and Nice List. Indeed, some of the Naughty nominees should get far worse than a lump of coal in their stocking, and the nice ones should get much more than a pat on the back. While I agree with some of the nominations I take issue with several.
Mike Taylor, deputy Food and Drug Administration commissioner for food on the Nice List? Here he is lauded for the “access and insights he’s provided (Food Safety News) in 2011” and especially for his interview with Food Safety News about when he was USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Services Administrator. While there, he banned O157 from meat in 1994 which he announced at a meeting of the American Meat Institute.
What has he done for food safety before and after that? I’ll tell you.
In 1992 Michael Taylor was the vice president of public policy and chief lobbyist at Monsanto Company. He is the person who “oversaw the creation of GMO policy,” according to Jeffrey Smith, the leading spokesperson on the dangers of GM foods.
Michael Taylor is the individual who oversaw the FDA policy that facilitated GMO introduction into the food chain. According to Smith, Taylor was also Monsanto’s attorney before becoming policy chief at the FDA. Clearly, one hand washes the other.
While Taylor was at the FDA in the early 90’s, he also oversaw the policy regarding Monsanto’s genetically engineered bovine growth hormone. Taylor saw fit that milk from injected cows did not require any special labeling.
I’ll quote what Jeffrey Smith has to say about GM foods.
In January of this year, Dr. P. M. Bhargava, one of the world’s top biologists, told me that after reviewing 600 scientific journals, he concluded that the GM foods in the US are largely responsible for the increase in many serious diseases.
In May, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine concluded that animal studies have demonstrated a causal relationship between GM foods and infertility, accelerated aging, dysfunctional insulin regulation, changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system, and immune problems such as asthma, allergies, and inflammation.
In July, a report by eight international experts determined that the flimsy and superficial evaluations of GMOs by both regulators and GM companies “systematically overlook the side effects” and significantly underestimate “the initial signs of diseases like cancer and diseases of the hormonal, immune, nervous and reproductive systems, among others.
Maybe this explains why chronic diseases such as autoimmune diseases, cancer, allergies and asthma have increased at alarming rates since 1996 when GMO’s were released into the food supply. As Jeffrey Smith says regarding Taylor’s appointment as FDA Food Commissioner, “this is like the fox guarding the chickens”.
Michael Taylor on the Food Safety News Nice List? Really.
David E. Gumpert is an author, journalist and raw milk advocate. He is also a Food Safety News contributor. David Gumpert on the Naughty list? Here, he is chided for a remark he made at a raw milk protest organized by the Raw Milk Freedom Riders, outside FDA headquarters in Virginia. Gumpert said “as far as I can tell we are at war”.
Food Safety characterized this comment as “going to the guns with inflammatory rhetoric” and put him on their Naughty List. Inflammatory rhetoric? David Gumpert is the author of The Raw Milk Revolution. He knows first hand what a battle raw milk advocates are facing against uninformed, politically pressured bureaucrats.
In an email exchange I had with Mr. Gumpert, he responded to this with “…I saw I made the “naughty” list, and am quite proud of it. Especially that I am on the list with Michael Schmidt, the raw dairy farmer from Canada. Talk about being in good company.”
David Gumpert has become the official chronicler of the ‘raw milk movement’ in the United States. The Raw Milk Revolution is a highly readable expose that successfully captures how the controversy over raw milk is at the center of a larger battle between the industrial food system and the local food movement. Gumpert explains how raw milk, more than any other food, threatens proponents of the ‘germ theory,’ centralized food production, and the ‘nanny state.’ The Raw Milk Revolution is an extremely important book because it sounds a clear warning that upholding the right to produce and consume raw milk is critical in preserving our food freedoms in general.
Food Safety did allow that David Gumpert “…makes sensible points about the regulation of raw milk, relative to other risky foods.”
David Gumpert on the Food Safety News Naughty List. Really.
Michael Schmidt is a Canadian raw-milk farmer at Glencolton Farm in Ontario Canada. He is a well known champion of the consumers right to choose raw dairy and has faced long term persecution from Health Canada. He went on a five-week hunger strike out of desperation to speak with Premier Dalton McGuinty about Canada’s ban on the sale of unpasteurized milk. Michael Schmidt has been tireless in defending the rights of citizens to procure clean, wholesome raw milk.
Here again, this is clearly a political issue, not a health issue, After all, no one has gotten sick from his milk. Additionally, many people are outraged by the fact that they are not “allowed” to make their own decisions about their personal food choices. On Nov. 25, Mr. Schmidt was convicted on 13 charges related to the sale and distribution of unpasteurized milk and cheese, and operating a plant without a license. He was fined $9,150 and put on probation. Now he is appealing the convictions. He has the support of many people concerned about the right to produce and procure fresh local foods and food freedoms in general.
Michael Schmidt on the Food Safety News Naughty List? Really.
Quite frankly, although I am a bit peeved about Gumpert and Schmidt being on the Food Safety News Naughty List, I, too, am also proud of their dedication to their principles, their ability to communicate these principles and their courage. What do you think about this? Are there any others on the Naughty and Nice List that you agree or disagree with? Leave a comment and let me know!