Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hijacked Regulatory Agencies Do the Bidding Of Big Ag in the War on Natural Food

Brandon Turbeville
Activist Post
August 10, 2011

With recent headlines regarding SWAT team attacks on wholesome dairies and raw milk producers, it might be of some relevance to discuss the level of corruption that exists amongst our own hijacked government regulatory agencies and the international food corporations they are tasked with policing. Indeed, when one is aware of the revolving door that exists between agencies like the FDA and large corporations like Monsanto, it is easier to see how such fascist food raids can be launched and subsequently justified.

A clear and relatively recent example of the influence and pressure that is often exerted on regulatory agencies can be seen in the debate over rBGH. Believe it or not, there was once a time when consumers were aware that dangerous genetically modified growth hormones in their milk was something that was potentially harmful to their health. These consumers, unlike those in current times, began to engage in a practice that, in 2011, might be considered revolutionary or, in the eyes of the mainstream media and DHS, possibly even domestic terrorism -- they simply refused to buy the adulterated product.

This consumer boycott resulted in, at the very least, a potential for the loss of large sums of money for Monsanto. Thus their spin machine, as well as the infiltration agents they employed within the various regulatory agencies, kicked their efforts into high gear.

As a result, Monsanto did its best to convince regulatory agencies such as the FDA and the FTC to make it illegal for any dairy to make the claim that its products were rBGH-free.[1]

While these agencies did not fully bend to Monsanto’s request, the FDA did devise a policy by which all claims of rBGH-free milk were deemed misleading and, if made, were to be accompanied by a disclaimer that reads “No significant difference has been shown between milk derived from rBST-treated and non rBST-treated cows.”[2]

Almost immediately after the FDA released the document stating its new policy, Monsanto filed suit against two dairy farms that had labeled their milk as “rBGH-free.” The FDA rushed to the aid of companies like Monsanto and sent warning letters to several other dairies telling them that they were in violation of the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act for misbranding.

Monsanto continued to lobby the FDA and FTC arguing that allowing the appearance of any rBGH related labeling on milk was unfairly damaging its business. [3]

When these attempts proved unsuccessful, the companies changed their tactics and moved to the state level. The most widely publicized battleground was in the state of Pennsylvania. Here they found an ally in Dennis Wolff, the state Secretary of Agriculture. Wolff took it upon himself to ban all labeling of dairy products that were free of rBGH such as “hormone-free,” “rBGH-free,” or “rBST-free.” [4]  His argument was that since the FDA claimed they could find no difference between non-rBGH treated milk and milk that was treated with the hormone, the marketing of dairy products as “rBGH-free” is false and misleading.[5]

Although only implemented at the state level, this would have had nationwide repercussions. Because it would be too confusing and costly for many dairy producers to create separate packaging for only one state, this would effectively remove the non-rBGH label from the all the national and Pennsylvanian brands.[6]

After Wolff’s behavior became widely known, public outcry forced Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell to put a halt to the destruction of the 1st Amendment and the right of the consumer to know what he/she is purchasing.

Yet, although the initial attack on free speech was halted, Rendell supported the position that any rBGH-free claims must be accompanied by the FDA disclaimer.

Illinois was actually the first state to place a ban on rBGH-free labeling.[7] The ice cream giant Ben & Jerry’s, Stoneyfield Farm, and Organic Valley Farms all challenged the law by filing a lawsuit against the Illinois Department of Public Health in a US District Court. However, after a settlement, these companies could only label their products with a statement that says “We oppose rBGH. The family farmers who supply our milk pledge not to treat their cows with rBGH.”[8] This statement must also be accompanied by the FDA disclaimer.[9]

Also, when the product includes any ingredients other than milk, such as dried milk or milk chocolate, the label must include another statement that says, “Not all suppliers of our other ingredients can promise that the milk they use comes from untreated cows.”[10]

On a state level the battle is still raging. Pennsylvania and Illinois are not the only states to adopt or at least attempt to adopt draconian and unconstitutional laws protecting giant corporations and damaging public health.  Some states have adopted laws based on the FDA’s own guidelines which are tyrannical enough. Utah, for example has done just that.

However, other states such as Ohio take the guidelines further. The law in Ohio now dictates the size, type, and location of the FDA disclaimer.

States like Pennsylvania (mentioned earlier), Missouri, and Indiana have attempted to go even further and ban rBGH labeling altogether.[11]

Fortunately, due to public outcry, the legislation in all three of these states has not passed. Yet the battle is not over. States all over the country are introducing legislation aimed at protecting large agri-business such as Monsanto. Kansas is the most recent state to do so, and it is almost certain that other states will follow.[12]

Considering the level of control held over regulatory agencies and governments by corporations like Monsanto, there is little doubt that this particular issue has merely faded into the background.


[1] Smith, Jeffrey. “You’re Appointing Who? Please Obama, Say It’s Not So!” July 23, 2009.  Accessed May 24, 2010.
[2] “Voluntary Labeling of Milk and Milk Products From Cows That Have Not Been Treated With Recombinant Bovine Somatotropin.” Federal Register, 59 FR 6279, February 10, 1994.  Accessed May 24, 2010.
[3] “rBGH:How Artificial Hormones Damage the Dairy Industry and And Endanger Public Health.” June, 2009.  Accessed May 24, 2010.
[4] Gutierrez, David. “Consumer Outrage May Reverse Pennsylvania’s rBGH-Free Dairy Label Censorship Sham.”  Accessed May 24, 2010.
[5] “rBGH:How Artificial Hormones Damage the Dairy Industry and And Endanger Public Health.” June, 2009.  Accessed May 24, 2010.
[6] Smith, Jeffrey. “You’re Appointing Who? Please Obama, Say It’s Not So!” July 23, 2009.  Accessed May 24, 2010.
[7] “rBGH:How Artificial Hormones Damage the Dairy Industry and And Endanger Public Health.” June, 2009.  Accessed May 24, 2010.
[8] “Settlement Protects Illinois Consumers From Misleading Food Labels,” Illinois Department of Health News Release. August 14, 1997.
[9] Ibid.
[10] Ibid.
[11] “rBGH:How Artificial Hormones Damage the Dairy Industry and And Endanger Public Health.” June, 2009.

See Also:

Rathke, Lisa. “Ben & Jerry’s Opposes Monsanto’s Move in Several States to Ban rBGH-Free Labels.” Associated Press, February 5, 2008. Reprinted by Organic Consumer’s Association.
[12] Morris, Owen. “New Kansas Bill Restricts rBGH Labeling.” The Pitch. 3/23/09. Reprinted by Organic Consumers Association.  Accessed May 24, 2010.

Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Florence, South Carolina.  He has had numerous articles published dealing with a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, and civil liberties. He also the author of Codex Alimentarius - The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies and Five Sense Solutions.

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