GENTECH archive



Dear Friends,

There actually was an EXECUTIVE SUMMARY of genetic engineering in
January of 1994.  In the best example of the "BUCK ($) STOPPING HERE,"
The Executive Branch (White House) issued a report of the first
genetically engineered hormone for our food supply.

The White House issued eleven points which I include in this email with
my personal comments.  Some are quite funny, approaching the ridiculous.
Point number eleven deals with the new biotech.  Please read all!

Point #1  "BST-treated milk is safe (emphasis added) because it is
indistinguishable from normal milk." 

We know that BST-treated milk and untreated milk are different.  That
must logically change the conclusion of Point #1.  If we assume that BST
milk is safe because it is indistinguishable from non-BST milk, then the
converse must be true.  BST-milk is (fill in the blank) __________ 
because it is different from non-BST milk. 

Point #2  "Income for individual farmers who use BST is likely to
increase because BST favors good herd management."

Not for the 500 farms and 9500 animals reported with mastitis. (Mastitis
is a condition of ulcerations and sores to the udders of cows.  This
condition results in pus entering the milk which increases the bacterial
cell count in milk.)  Many animals had to be destroyed.  Many more
farmers experienced no problems.  Those that were successful produced
more milk.  The government (using your tax dollars) purchases milk
surpluses.   We had a large milk surplus before BST came on the market. 
We will have an even larger milk surplus now.  Income for most farmers
will increase.  They will be receiving subsidies for their extra milk
which will be converted into butter and cheese and shipped off as
donations to countries needing our overabundance. 

	Point #3  "BST will lead to lower milk prices." 

Milk prices are "fixed" and controlled.  Milk producers are under a
microscope and cannot lower or raise their prices.  However, the dairy
industry had their lobbyist working to release those controls so that
prices would be free to increase, simultaneous to rbST approval and
their carefully constructed media blitz.

Point #4  "Lower milk prices would result in decreased Federal costs for
food stamps and other supplemental food programs."

I do not know who wrote this report, but, as it comes from the White
House, I must assume President Clinton had to be aware of it.  Hey, Mr.
President, you're pushing it here.  You've lost credibility, yet you're
sinking even deeper.  In other words, public welfare costs will decrease
because we allow Monsanto the right to distribute a genetically
engineered hormone that causes cancer to laboratory animals and makes
the milk different?  You're pulling my leg, aren't you?  Milk prices
have increased since rbST approval.  This has added costs to all of the
above programs.  Guess who is paying the price?

Point #5  "Federal dairy price-support program would increase by
approximately $150 million per year and decline in later years."

The first part contradicts points #2, #3, and #4. The second part
suggests costs will decline in later years.  We've heard things like
this before from politicians promising tax hikes for next year and then
adding,  "Don't worry, taxes will decrease in later years."


Point #6  "Savings in the costs of Federal feeding programs will
completely offset the cumulative costs of the Federal dairy
price-support system over 10 years."


Federal feeding program?  You mean to tell me that you guys feed their
cows?  The government subsidizes the milk, buys the surplus, gives tax
breaks to companies doing research designing chemicals to poison us, and
feeds their animals.  What's the point?  Why not just pay the dairy
farmers to come to Washington, D.C., and sit at a desk like the rest of
you bureaucrats and do nothing?  It would probably save us money, and
we'd be a heck of a lot healthier, too.

Point #7  "Consumers will benefit over the next six years with BST use
because of lower prices." 

 If you believe that one, I've got a bridge to sell to you.  I'd like
each American consumer to give me one penny saved from a quart of milk. 
That would be  270,000,000 people times one cent equals $2,700,000. 
Give me 2.7 million dollars and I'll sell you the Brooklyn Bridge.

Point #8  "No significant reduction of demand is expected to result from
BST use.    Some consumer surveys reveal resistance to BST milk."

There appears to be a need for nutrition education on rbST's  effects.
Oh, oh.  Here comes "Big Brother."  We need re-education?   It's obvious
who needs re-education, isn't it?  If every American realizes that the
"new milk" contains increased levels of hormones, will milk consumption
increase or decrease?  Point number nine is worthy of nomination for a
very special classification by itself.   The category is "The
Environment."  This rates as one of the silliest things I have ever

Point #9   "BST is expected to have a minor, but beneficial net impact
on the environment.  It should lead to a slightly smaller U.S. dairy
herd, and therefore less pollution through decreased use of fertilizers
for feed production, and less cow manure and methane production."

This kind of manure is appropriate for something coming out of the
Executive Office.  Are fertilizers for feed production bad?  Do they
cause pollution?  If we decrease the amount of fertilizers can we save
the environment?  Is cow manure bad?  I certainly don't want to step in
it, but I buy a couple of bags every year for my small tomato garden. 
Does cow manure cause pollution?  As for methane, now they're finally
beginning to make sense.  After all, cows fart.  Farts smell bad.  I
wouldn't want to be in a closed room with friends and a dairy cow or
two, with everybody suddenly turning to point at me.  That could be
embarrassing.  Methane gas.  Sure.  That certainly affects me when cows
in Wisconsin participate in communal "fartathons."  Why, you could light
up Hackensack, New Jersey, with all the methane gas produced from those
bovines "breaking wind."

Thank goodness our government scientist realizes that fewer cows will
mean fewer farts.  I wonder just how many federal dollars they spent to
come up with the data for this brilliant deduction.  However, consider
that rbST-treated cows will eat more food to produce 20 percent more
milk.  If they do not eat more food, then they will have to dissolve
their own bones and melt their own proteins to produce that 20 percent
more milk product.   So, if they eat more, and you've got to assume that
they will, then they're going to fart more, stupid.  Perhaps we can get
the author of this study a job on Saturday Night Live or Leno or

	Point #10  "BST should have little, if any effect on U.S. dairy
exports.  Nearly half of U.S. dairy exports go to countries that have
approved the use of BST, and more countries are expected to do so."

The European Community placed a seven year moratorium on the use of rbST
in their markets until the year 2002.  This ban occurred sometime after
the publication of this Executive Report.  This not only invalidates
point #10, but helps to invalidate points 1 through 9 as well.  This ban
was done for safety reasons. 

Point #11  "U.S. leadership in biotechnology, as well as private-sector
investment for research and development in the biotechnology industry,
would be enhanced by proceeding with BST, and would be impeded if there
were new government obstacles to such bio-tech products following their
approval for use by FDA and other regulatory agencies."

In other words, if we determine that BST is not safe, we will hurt the
prospects of the new genetic engineering technology.  It has not yet
been perfected.  In Steven Spielberg's movie, Jurassic Park, we became
witness to a scenario where errors in genetic engineering caused
horrible consequences.  When just one amino acid in a hormone or protein
differs from the normal genetic code there can be dire consequences. 
Sickle cell anemia is just one example.  Another example occurs in
Alzheimer's disease.  The substitution of just one amino acid,
phenlyalanine, appears to be the basis for one type of hereditary
Alzheimer disease.  With rbST, improper research developed a product
with a resulting gene transcription error.  That error surfaced long
after all of the research on rbST had been performed and submitted to
FDA.  (Amino acid number 144 should have been lysine; it was
manufactured as epsilon-N-acetyllysine, a bacterium amino acid). 

	In our rush and excitement to get rbST to market, sloppy research was
tolerated.  When laboratory animals became sick, the incriminating data
were hidden.  When people like myself requested specific data proving
laboratory animals get cancer from rbST, the government, in its great
display of bureaucratic strength, did not allow such data to be
released.  "BST-treated milk is indistinguishable from normal milk." 
Approval was based on this assumption.  On page 22 of the 64-page
Executive Report we are treated to the following:

"There are slight variations in milkfat and milk-protein content
immediately after BST treatment."

"The meat from BST-treated cows tends to have a lower fat content."

"A slight shift in the Kjeldahl nitrogen factions (casein, whey protein,
and nonprotein nitrogen) has been observed."

How's that for an EXECUTIVE REPORT?

Robert Cohen