More Dangerous Additives Coming In Our Food
By James Donahue
Federal agencies like the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture
have been in place to oversee the food and medicines produced and sold in the United States and make sure it is safe for human
consumption. But something has gone wrong. Both agencies are showing signs of being in the pockets of big business interests,
instead of the interest of the people.
Without going into past records, which have been sordid to say the least, consider the
latest horror stories broken in recent days because of some alert environmental groups.
The Washington Post reports that the USDA is about to approve a new antibiotic to treat
a pneumonia-like disease in cattle, despite warnings from health groups including the American Medical Association, that broad
use of the drug could speed the emergence of deadly human bacteria that will be drug resistant.
And in Sacramento, California, Ventria Bioscience appears to have USDA approval to plant
3,000 acres of a new genetically altered rice laced with human proteins and designed for use in medical research. Opponents
worry that this plant will cross-pollinate with regular rice and contaminate this important world food supply.
In spite of clear-defined dangers, which even a novice like this writer can understand,
people in these high government bureaucracies appear to be blind to the risk, and ever eager to approve these projects because
they offer potential profits for powerful cattle growers and big pharmaceutical companies.
The drug that cattlemen want to put in their livestock is cefquinome, from a class of highly
potent antibiotics defined as medicine's last defenses against several serious human infections. They include certain highly
resistant strains of Streptococcus, Complicated Peritonitis, numerous bacterial assaults on the skin and internal organs and
The danger is that in introducing cefquinome to the human food chain, everyone that eats
the meat or milk products from these cows will help mobilize an army of new and more powerful bacteria that will break through
this last line of defense. And that will turn these diseases into killers that cannot be stopped.
Because of the concerns by medical people, the FDA's advisory board last fall recommended
that the request by InterVet Inc., of Millsboro, Delaware, to market the drug for cattle be rejected. But the FDA seems to
be prepared to approve the drug anyway, possibly within weeks. The agency is using a recently approved "guidance document"
that codifies how to weigh new animal drug threats to human health.
Rather than drafted for the protection of human health, the codification document was a
political creation recommended by the World Health Organization that is clearly favoring the wants and wishes of pharmaceutical
The other danger to world farm produce is the proposed 3,000-acre field of experimental
human protein rice that Ventria Bioscience wants to plant near Junction City, Kansas. The company promises that the rice will
be carefully harvested with special equipment and stored in a way to prevent the seeds from mixing with other crops. Plans
are to refine the rice for use in medicines to fight diarrhea, dehydration and other illnesses that attack infant children.
Environmental groups warn that cross pollination occurs in the wild. Rice is a grass and
is related to all of the other world grasses, so once it pollinates on the land, the cross-pollination is immediately blowing
in the wind.
The threat is that these proteins will find their way into the human food chain and cause
medical reactions including allergic reactions. Eventually it will affect all of the rice crops and may even find its way
into the other grass foods like wheat and oats.
Yet the USDA released a draft environment assessment that concludes that because no commercial
rice is grown in Kansas, planting the rice poses almost no risk.
The risk is especially high in crops that are directly related to weeds that may grow in
adjoining fields, or along fence rows. In addition to rice, other dangerous GMO crops in the Untied States include oat, canola,
sunflower, sorghum and wheat.