Posts tagged ‘fda’

FDA’s Michael Taylor Promotes Himself

On Jan. 13, 2010 Michael Taylor, who was only recently hired as Food Safety Czar by President Obama, has now promoted himself to the new title Deputy Commissioner for Foods.  He created this position to head his newly created Office of Foods for the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

According to an FDA press release Taylor’s new mission is, “to develop and implement a prevention based strategy for food safety, plan implementation of new food safety legislation, and ensure that food labels contain clear and accurate information on nutrition.”  The web site also goes on to suggest that Taylor is a nationally recognized food safety expert.  Of course legitimate nationally recognized food safety experts point out that he is anything but.

As part of Taylor’s credentials the press release cites his previous experience in the FDA and USDA.  It also attempts to add authenticity by mentioning that he has served on several National Academy of Sciences expert committees.  What it fails to mention is that he has spent most of the past 30 years as a lawyer and lobbyist for the nefarious Monsanto Company.  It was Monsanto’s genetically modified corn process that introduced humanity to e coli.  And they used your tax dollars to do it.

So while the FDA’s web site tries to convince people that Michael Taylor is the right person to have governing their food safety, the reality is that he is likely just securing more amnesty and tax dollars for Monsanto.  That, after all, was the result of the his previous tenures in public service.

The Huffington Post has called Taylor, “The person who may be responsible for more food-related illness and death than anyone in history,” and that tends to be the consensus throughout the food safety world.  Only the future knows how many more Americans will have to die before Taylor is done.  One thing is for sure, no good will ever come of this.

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January 15, 2010 at 4:29 am 2 comments

Corporations Caught Misrepresenting Caloric Information

An astonishing story published today by Associated Press revealing that several corporations have been misrepresenting the actual caloric content of their foods. Among the restaurants caught fudging are Ruby Tuesday and Wendy’s and several frozen food producers including Lean Cuisine and Weight Watchers have been exposed as well.  This again raises concerns about the leadership at the USDA, to government agency charged with insuring that nutritional information is accurate.

From AP writers Michael Hill, Sue Manning, & Caryn Rousseau:

Dieters can’t believe everything they read: The food at many popular chain restaurants and in the freezer section of the supermarket may contain a lot more calories than advertised.

A study of 10 chain restaurants, including Wendy’s and Ruby Tuesday, found that the number of calories in 29 meals or other menu items was an average of 18 percent higher than listed.

And frozen supermarket meals from Lean Cuisine, Weight Watchers, Healthy Choice and South Beach Living had 8 percent more calories than the labels said, according to the study, published in this month’s Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Read MORE.

January 7, 2010 at 7:07 pm 2 comments

White House Kitchen Garden a Facade?

First Lady Michelle Obama in the Garden

The White House has certainly touted it’s Kitchen Garden, even going so far as to having it featured as the “theme ingredient” on a special Iron Chef:America.  I am sure the first lady is passionate and devoted to the sustainable, local and/or organic lifestyle.  Mrs. Obama certainly seems sincere in her concerns for the environment and in rescuing our children from the obesity epidemic created by agribusiness juggernauts like Monsanto and their foot soldiers, the fast food industry.

More.

January 3, 2010 at 12:09 pm 3 comments

Veggie Wars: Raw vs. Cooked

So with the recent popularity of raw diets, many have the belief that cooked vegetables are worthless.  There is some truth to that.  If the vegetables are cooked to the point of being soft that means the fiber has cooked out, fiber is good.  With the fiber goes the bulk of the nutrients.

At the same time raw may not just be boring but also a little dangerous.  In his groundbreaking book, The Man Who Ate Everything,  Jeffrey Steingarten explored some of the hidden dangers in raw produce in a chapter titled Salad the Silent Killer.  He found that many common veggies have nutrition blockers that prevent absorption not only of their own nutrients but any others also residing in the digestive tract.  Among these are spinach, red cabbage, beets and brussels sprouts.  These inhibiting chemicals can be neutralized by heat, cooking.  Eat them raw and not only are they not healthy but they rob the nutrition of anything you consume with them.

Steingarten is a slave to research and is one of the best resources on the planet for food knowledge.  I rank his opinion high above the combined efforts of the FDA and USDA.  The author draws his conclusions from scientific study and medical research whereas the two bureaucracies rely on lobbyist influence to form policy.

Another reliable source is noted Phoenix surgeon Dr. Terry Simpson who has this to say on the subject of raw vs. cooked vegetables:

December 11, 2009 at 7:07 am

FDA Retreats: Oysters Spared

Originally posted on Third Coast Cuisine on 11-14-9.

In a startling admission the FDA acknowledged that it did not thoroughly examine the issue of Vibrio vulnificus contamination from the consumption of raw oysters. In a November 13th press release by Meghan Scott, the FDA announced that it was rescinding its planned 2011 ban on raw Gulf oysters citing that, “It is clear to the FDA from our discussions to date that there is a need to further examine both the process and timing for large and small oyster harvesters to gain access to processing facilities or equivalent controls…” This reversal comes as Democrat and Republican politicians bombarded the FDA and President Obama’s office with complaints and evidence provided by experts on food safety like chefs, restaurateurs, fishermen and food writers.

The FDA had sought to ban raw oysters from the Third Coast (but not oysters from the East or West Coasts) because of 15 deaths annually attributed to Vibrio vulnificus infection. As it turns out the number of deaths was slightly lower than 15 a year and nearly all cases involved people with disease-weakened immune systems who had consumed raw oysters against doctor’s advice. According to U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor, (D) of Bay St. Louis, MS the infection rate of Vibrio vulnificus is a paltry .00005%. Hardly the daunting threat the FDA had led people to believe.

Representative Taylor said in a strongly worded letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, “It does not make sense for the FDA to take on this new commitment.” And he was not the lone dissenting voice on Capitol Hill. Joining Representative Taylor in his contempt for the FDA’s policy was Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) who suggested that he might be inclined to cut future funding to the FDA if the issue were not rationally addressed.

Conspicuously absent from the FDA press release was the name Michael Taylor. Taylor is President Obama’s controversial appointment as an FDA consultant on food safety. It was he who first announced the ban on raw oysters from the Gulf region in a speech given last month in Manchester, N.H. The controversy over Mr. Taylor’s appointment arises from the fact that he has spent most of his professional career in the employment of agribusiness giant Monsanto, a corporation with a history in food safety that is dubious at best. Adding to the controversy is the fact that Mr. Taylor has no background in medicine or science but rather is a lawyer and career lobbyist.
Now that the imminent danger to jobs and livelihoods has been delayed the looming issue is why the FDA chose this crusade in the first place. The death of 15 people is nothing to take nonchalantly but in light of the other dangers under the FDA’s charge it seems peculiar. Approximately 873 children choke to death each year the majority on hot dogs, popcorn and candy but the FDA is not banning any of these items. 200 Americans die each year of e coli infections but the FDA has yet to address Monsanto’s genetically modified corn which has been proven as the source of every e coli incident on record.
The entire fiasco has left many wondering whether this was a “wag the dog” scenario crafted to distract the public’s attention from more pressing issues. Or could it be that the leadership of the FDA is really this incompetent?
Here is a list of other coverage of this story:
AP
LA Times
WAPT Jackson, MS

November 17, 2009 at 8:20 am

As if Katrina Wasn’t Bad Enough Now the FDA is Targeting the Gulf Coast

Originally posted at Third Coast Cuisine.

Just as Third Coast communities are beginning to recover from a series of storms that decimated towns from Corpus Christie to Tampa the FDA is now imposing policy that will potentially insure the demise of the Gulf Coast oyster industry. The industry has been a part of the region longer than there has been a United States of America. In an ethically questionable and scientifically unfounded decision the FDA is banning the sale of raw Gulf oysters effective 2011. The new law does not apply to oysters harvested on the East or West Coasts.

As nutritionists, food scientists and culinary writers have repeatedly pointed out the FDA (and their bungling partners the USDA and Department of Agriculture) rarely make public policy based on fact.  Michael Taylor, the President’s hand-picked senior adviser at the Food and Drug Administration, is at the point of this latest attack on the Gulf Region.  Taylor has spent most of the last 20 years going back and forth between the FDA and agribusiness giant Monsanto.  This is a gross conflict of interest but one that has existed now through four administrations.  Both Presidents Bush, President Clinton and now President Obama have appointed multiple Monsanto executives to policy making positions in all three government agencies responsible for regulating food safety.  The situation is referred to as the Monsanto/Government Revolving Door and it has been placing the public at risk since the 1970’s. 

The chief method for the post-harvest processing treatment of oysters is irradiation – exposure to low-dose gamma radiation. In 1993 the FDA approved food irradiation despite major health concerns. They ignored the fact that lab animals consuming irradiated foods experienced premature death, mutation, reproductive problems, tumors and suppressed immune function and that irradiation creates unique radiolytic products that cause cancer and birth defects in humans. There is also irrefutable evidence that irradiation destroys the nutritional benefits of the food exposed to it. Since the process was patented by Monsanto the company stands to reap a windfall from the new policy while the potential impact on the Gulf States’ economy is $500 million annually.

FDA/Monsanto spokesman Michael Taylor feels that the new regulations on raw Gulf oysters are necessary because nearly 15 people a year die from ingesting oysters contaminated with Vibrio vulnificus.  All victims have suffered from weak immune systems caused by various diseases like AIDS and diabetes.  According to Taylor these high-risk groups are just not heeding the warnings about raw oysters which contribute to the dozen or so annual deaths.  Consequently, Monsanto’s genetically modified corn process has been identified as the primary cause of every e coli outbreak on record, an average of 200 deaths a year just in the US.  Additionally, obesity kills 400,000 Americans each year and the chief culprit, high-fructose corn syrup, is another Monsanto invention. 

For more on the FDA’s ban on raw Gulf oysters you can read the AP article written by Cain Burdeau and Phillip Rawls by clicking HERE.

Photo courtesy of Wintzell’s Oyster House, Mobile, AL.

October 28, 2009 at 9:30 am

When a Healthy Diet Isn’t Healthy

According to the market research firm Marketdata Enterpises Inc., Americans spend $55 billion a year on weight loss. Be it in the form of diet books, exercise equipment, health club memberships, pre-packaged meal plans or the ever elusive “magic pill” millions of Americans are trying anything to live a healthy lifestyle. And most are missing the mark, even those who appear perfectly healthy.

Why you may ask? The answer is both simple and complex.

READ THE REST

October 21, 2009 at 9:59 pm 1 comment

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Stuart Reb Donald

Stuart is a celebrity chef and award winning food writer. Donald performs live cooking demonstrations and penned the cookbook Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor."

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