GENTECH archive


(Fwd) EMS Press Breakfast on BGH

Forward from sanet, the sustainable agriculture list:

>From: "E. Ann Clark, Associate Professor" <>
>Organization: Plant Agriculture, Univ. of Guelph
>Date: Mon, 14 Dec 1998 09:05:58 EST
>Subject: (Fwd) EMS Press Breakfast on BGH
>Folks:  I am forwarding the following comments from a very
>knowledgeable observer, who wrote:
>Heads up.
>Things are heating up. The Canadian Senate's examination of rBGH led to a
>focus on the Canadian "Gaps Report". This is a heretofore confidential
>analysis of Monsanto's confidential rBGH data by Canadian scientists at the
>HPB's Bureau of Veterinary Medicines describing the unanswered safety
>questions surrounding rBGH. These regulatory scientists were being
>harrassed and pressured to downplay these dangers and, in contravention to
>the Canadian Food and Drugs Act, recommend approval of rBGH.
>The report made its way to the internet via the National Farmers Union
>website. Then US food safety activists picked up on it and started asking
>why US regulatory scientists didn't let these factors stop them from
>approving rBGH in the US. Turns out key studies were not completely
>reviewed in the US approval process. No kidding. Whether or not there was
>pressure to approve this key money maker for Monsanto is not acknowledged,
>only that the full 90-day rat study, central to Canadian scientists safety
>cocerns, was not reviewed in full, only in summary form. The summary
>obscured the safety issues, which were uncovered in the full data set.(
>This demonsrtates why the pressure for short approval times is /can be a
>safety hazard )
>Conflict of interest in the approval process was mind-boggling. One FDA
>reviewer was a former Monsanto scientist who had worked for Monsanto on
>rBGH studies, then moved to FDA and was apparently allowed to work on the
>rBGH file. This is unheard of in my experience and cannot be accidental.
>FDA has rules about about COI (Witness the COI in the generics scandal of
>1989 that sent one FDA chief and several staff to jail).
>As the note below says, the US activists are demanding FDA reversal of rBGH
>approval and/or heading to the courts.
>The heat's on now. This rBST scandal may expose much of the global industry
>influence system used to approve drugs. rBGH is also the icon for a hot
>international trade debate over the use of genetically engineered foods and
>drugs (US for; EU against; Canada as one unofficial tie breaker).
>International expert groups like 'JECFA' and Codex are now being seen as
>stacked by industry and lacking independence.
>An international, muti-billion dollar meltdown is at hand.
>The above was written in response to the following:
>>Here is some information on a very significant event.  A press conference
>>this Tuesday in Washington DC, about the hazards of BGH, and announcing a
>>lawsuit against FDA if they do not take BGH off the market.
>>Several hundred of the media are expected at the press conference.
>>Also, I have been told  that a few hours after the press conference, it
>>will be telecast at their website.
>>CONTACT: Tom Lalley, Lisa Magnino
>>Tuesday, December 15,  1998
>>Environmental Media Services (202) 463-6670
>>              100th EMS Press Breakfast: Tuesday, December 15, 1998, 9:00
>>Lawsuit charges Fox pressured reporters to broadcast false information
>>When Steve Wilson and Jane Akre - award winning reporters at Fox-owned WTVT
>>in Tampa, Florida - sought to air their series on bovine growth hormone
>>(BGH) last year, Monsanto warned Fox executives that "dire consequences"
>>would result if the stories ran as originally written.  Fox rewrote the
>>stories over 70 times and eventually fired the reporters.  The series never
>>Now Wilson and Akre - who recently received the National Society of
>>Professional Journalists Award for Ethics - are suing Fox asserting the
>>network broke the law when it fired them for refusing to broadcast
>>inaccurate reports.  Steve Wilson and Jane Akre will join health and legal
>>experts to discuss their suit and the possible dangers of BGH at the 100th
>>EMS Press Breakfast, Tuesday December 15, 1998 in the Crystal Room of the
>>Willard Hotel.
>>Monsanto describes BGH as "a dairy management tool" which safely boosts
>>milk production in 30 percent of US cows.  The U.S. Food and Drug
>>Administration approved BGH in 1993 but failed to consider important
>>information that recently became public after  a review by FDA's Canadian
>>counterpart, Health Canada.  Monsanto's own studies link BGH to cysts in
>>rats.  The BGH derived substance believed to have caused the growths has
>>been linked to cancer in humans according to research at Harvard Medical
>>Also at the breakfast, the Center for Food Safety will unveil a legal
>>action asking the FDA to suspend approval of BGH immediately.  If the FDA
>>does not take BGH off the market it will face a lawsuit.
>>WHO:    Steve Wilson - Investigative Reporter
>>Jane Akre - Investigative Reporter
>>Michael K. Hansen, Ph.D. - Senior Researcher, Consumers Union
>>John Stauber - Executive Director, PR Watch
>>Andrew Kimbrell - Executive Director, Center for Food Safety
>>WHEN:   Tuesday, December 15, 1998, 9:00 am
>>WHERE:  The Willard Hotel - In the Crystal Room on the ground floor
>>1401 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
>>- A continental breakfast will be served -
>>Tom Lalley, Program Director
>>Environmental Media Services
>>1320 18th Street NW, Suite 500
>>Washington, D.C. 20036
>>(202) 463-6670
>>Richard Wolfson,  PhD
>>Consumer Right to Know Campaign,
>>for Mandatory Labelling and Long-term
>>Testing of all Genetically Engineered Foods,
>>500 Wilbrod Street
>>Ottawa, ON  Canada  K1N 6N2
>>tel. 613-565-8517  fax. 613-565-1596
>>Our website,
>>contains more information on genetic engineering as well as
>>previous genetic engineering news items
>>Subscription fee to genetic engineering news is $35 for 12 months
>>See website for details.
>Dr. E. Ann Clark
>Associate Professor
>Crop Science
>University of Guelph
>Guelph, ON  N1G 2W1
>Phone:  519-824-4120 Ext. 2508
>FAX:  519 763-8933