Monsanto and FDA

Like many other agencies in the federal government, the FDA is run within the realm of iron triangles. The term is meant to denote the relationships which exist among bureaucracy, legislators, and private industries. The common theme is that legislators pass laws to regulate an industry, private industries hire lobbyists to provide information to help write the legislation, and legislators return the favor with more favorable laws. Legislators exchange more power to bureaucracies in exchange for favorable treatment to specific districts. Private industry and Bureaucracies have an exchange of people where employees from one side go to the other. This leads to a desire from regulators to show favorable treatment to certain companies in hopes of a high paying job at that company in the future.

simpsons-gmo-tomaccoThe senior advisor to the FDA, Michael Taylor, was a former VP at Monsanto before his appointment. The FDA is currently reviewing GMO labeling of food items, which Monsanto vehemently opposes. Another problem with the FDA regulations is what would qualify under the labeling. Under those guidelines, most, if not all, cultivated crops have been genetically modified – though not necessarily through bioengineering technology. So, by the FDA’s reasoning, any label that includes the word “modified” – as in “not genetically modified” or “GMO-free” – is technically inaccurate, unless used clearly in a context that refers to bioengineering technology. Moreover, the term “GMO free” may be misleading on most foods, according to the FDA, because most foods do not contain organisms (seeds and foods like yogurt that contain microorganisms are exceptions). Again, by that reasoning, it would likely be misleading to suggest that a food that ordinarily would not contain entire “organisms” is “organism-free.”