Hunger Strike to Ban Genetically Engineered Milk

On November 7, 1999, Robert Cohen began a hunger strike to draw attention to the fact that America's milk and dairy products are now hazardous to consumers' health to due FDA's fraudulent approval of bovine growth hormone ("BgH") See his website at and read his testimony before an FDA hearing (below).

I stopped drinking milk in 1990 upon realizing how dangerous just cows milk by itself is.
BgH notwithstanding, humans really don't have the digestive enzymes to properly digest milk, which is like rocket fuel for baby calves--- which can grow to weigh 400 lbs or more inside of one year.
When I stopped drinking milk, I had actual withdrawal symptoms. I had been addicted to it, and was allergic to it so paradoxically craved it. Now-- with this fraudulently approved BgH, milk is even MORE deadly, because strong documentation links BgH to cancer.  

Cohen feels that genetically engineered food (including food containing BgH) should be labelled so we can decide whether or not we want to buy it. I agree.  

Today, Dec. 15 he is on his 39th day of the hunger strike.  Hundreds of people around the world (over 300 so far)have already joined Robert Cohen on his hunger strike, and there will be thousands more. His site has received over 6,000 visits recently from an increasingly nervous FDA, and he has been receiving telephone threats so now he disconnects his phone at night. His message will end up costing Monsanto millions of dollars in lost revenue. Monsanto should voluntarily stop selling Bovine Growth Hormone, but they'll never do it that way, we're going to have to force them to stop.

Mr. Cohen has filed a suit (FDA citizen's petition - docket #99P-4613) to remove Monsanto's genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rbGH) from the market claiming that it poses a serious health risk to all humans.

According to Cohen:

1) Monsanto made an error by creating a "freak" amino acid
2) Lab animals treated with rbGH got cancer
3) Levels of hormones in rbGH-treated milk increase
4) Blood serum levels of milk hormones increase in milk drinkers

Here is his testimony to the FDA:

Robert Cohen appeared on an FDA panel in Washington on Tuesday,
November 30, 1999…some of you may have seen his speech on C-Span (Mr.
Cohen spoke last, and each of the other panel members read prepared
statements. Members of the panel also included Mildred Cody, who
represented the American Dietetic Association; Mario Teisl, a professor of
economics at the University of Maine; John Gray, president of the International
Food Service Distributors Association; Kendal Keith, president of the National
Grain & Feed Association; and Richard Caplan, an environmental advocate with
the US Public Interest Research Group.)  

Hi everybody, I've got to apologize first - I don't have a prepared
statement like the other panel members. All I'm going to give here is
some facts.  

I have a copy of the Federal Register. It says here advertising this

"FDA is not aware of information that will distinguish genetically
engineered food as a class from other foods."  

MEMBERS.] I'm going to give you some information today, guys.  

The greatest controversy in FDA history was the approval process for
Monsanto's genetically engineered bovine growth hormone. We
shouldn't be here today! We should not be in this room and I shouldn't
be here because, in 1994, Congress HAD A BILL that was going to
require mandatory labeling of all foods that were influenced by genetic
engineering. I got my Congresswoman to co-sponsor that bill - 181
congresspeople co-sponsored that bill, and you know what? I learned
how Congress works that year because in 6 months they stalled the bill
- 12 members of the Dairy Livestock & Poultry Committee - they
stalled the bill until the 1994 session of Congress expired and the bill

I was so upset, I investigated these 12 men and found that collectively
they took $711,000 in PAC money from companies with dairy interests,
and four of the members of the committee took money directly from

Now we've got a lot of political intrigue and some real science here.
We've got science fiction, we've got a combination of John Grisham
and we've got a combination of Stephen King.  

Nikita Khrushchev said that what the scientists have in their briefcase is
PULLED OUT A STACK OF PAPERS] and I've got some interesting
things in my briefcase to share with you today.  

When Monsanto made their genetically engineered bovine growth
hormone, they noticed a couple of problems right towards the end -
right before approval. They noticed that laboratory animals were
getting cancer, and they noticed that cows were getting mastitis, ulcers
in their udders. They were putting more pus and bacteria into the milk.
So Monsanto arranged…  

We've heard from Dr. Maryanski this morning, and Dr. Maryanski
talked about the Pure Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act but what he
didn't tell you was that in 1958, Robert Delaney, a congressman from
New York, added the Delaney Amendment which was named after him.
The Delaney Amendment stated that if a food additive caused cancer, it
was not to be approved - a pretty good law - right?  

Monsanto got their attorney, Michael Taylor from the firm of King &
Spalding… By the way, when they started in 1979, they groomed their
attorney who is now in the Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas, from the
same law firm.  

Anyway, Monsanto's attorney, Michael Taylor, wrote and minimized
the Delaney Amendment- he wrote a scientific paper that was published
in the "Journal of Toxicology". Lawyers -they write in law review
journals, but this lawyer wrote in the "Journal of Toxicology": "a
De-Minumus interpretation of the Delaney Amendment" became the
new protocol, the new standard operating procedure at FDA. They
minimized cancer.  

Michael Taylor was hired by the Food & Drug Administration, and
became the second most powerful man there, Monsanto's attorney - he
wrote the standard operating procedure. In other words, if you see
cancer, ignore it. Margaret Miller and Suzanne Sechen, Monsanto's
scientists, were hired by the FDA to review Monsanto's own research.  

Margaret Miller knew cows were getting mastitis. The first week at the
FDA, December 3, 1989, she was given broad power, and here's an
affect of genetic engineering nobody has considered. She knew cows
were getting sick from the genetically engineered hormone. She
changed the amount of antibiotics that farmers could have in their
milk. She changed it from 1 part per 100 million to 1 part per million -
this is a fact! She increased it by 100 times.  

There is a hero of mine in the audience, Michael Hansen from
Consumer's Union - Consumer's Union tested milk in the New York
metropolitan area and found the presence of 52 different antibiotics in
milk samples.  

FDA published on August 24, 1990, the first time ever in a
peer-reviewed journal, in "Science". "Science" was started by Thomas
Edison in the 1880's. They published a review of bovine somatotropin
-bGH -the genetically engineered cow hormone. And in that review,
there were seven tables of data. Five of those tables came from one
study authored by Richard, Odaglia and Deslex. This is the famous
"90-Day Study." Guess what? This was actually a study lasting for 180
days and when I first heard about this in 1994, I filed a Freedom of
Information Act Request for that study - because I saw from the data
that the average spleen of a lab animal increased 46%.  

I called FDA and spoke with Dick Teske. I said, "46%? You said there
were no biological effects!"  

He said, "That's not statistically significant."  

I said, "Well, let me see the raw data."  

He said, "It's a trade secret."  

I called Monsanto, they laughed at me. They said, "It's a trade secret
and you will never see it."  

I'm smart, I filed a Freedom of Information Act Request, but I didn't
realize you can't find out the study. I went to Federal Court, I said,
"Your honor - spleen increase of 46%, that's leukemia in 90 days!"  

I met with FDA on April 21, 1995, and found out that this was actually
a 180-day study.  

In Canada, they had this study. I have a letter here [ROBERT COHEN
REACHES INTO HIS BRIEFCASE], an internal memorandum:  

"This is to advise you that the copies of reports, letters, etc. for drug
submissions have been stolen from my files."  

This was stolen from a scientist's file in Canada. They stole the second
half of the "90-Day Study."  

We've got real science here. I'm going to talk briefly about the real
science because when Monsanto made this hormone, they had to tell
the FDA - they had to draw a chart of every amino acid - the 191 amino
acids. And when FDA wrote their paper in "Science" magazine they
wrote that one amino acid changed - it was a different hormone than
the naturally occurring one.  

At the same time, somebody hired C. Everett Koop to come and say
that genetically engineered milk and the good old wholesome milk is
indistinguishable. Well, it wasn't. Something happened to the hormone
that Monsanto made. The FDA said that there was one change in the
endamino acid. It became epsilon-N-acetyllysine. FDA had written if
there was a change in the middle of the protein, there could be
disastrous results. They cited Jerome Moore. I got Jerome Moore's
be Alzheimer's or sickle cell anemia or diabetes.  

Four months after the hormone was approved, one of Monsanto's
scientists, Bernard Violand, published in the July 3, 1994 issue of the
journal "Protein Science" evidence that Monsanto made a mistake.  

Oops! Monsanto created a freak amino acid. Did you ever see that
movie "The Fly" with Jeff Goldblum when the fly comes in and he
becomes half-human and half-fly? Monsanto created a freak amino
acid. Monsanto admitted it but didn't tell the FDA. [ROBERT COHEN

Gentlemen, the hormone that's on the market today is different than
the one you tested for seven years. Monsanto spent 500 million dollars,
submitted 55,000 pages of information to you, learned late in the
process that they created a freak amino acid - that's what was tested on
laboratory animals and it didn't matter because FDA said to Monsanto,
you know something? It's safe because when you pasteurize milk, you
destroy the hormone.  

They performed this research up in Guelph, Ontario by Paul
Groenewegan, and I've got his study. [ROBERT COHEN AGAIN
ADDRESSES FDA PANEL MEMBERS] To this day, FDA thinks -it's
on your web page - that 90% of the bovine growth hormone is
destroyed by pasteurization. But what Paul Groenewegan did working
with Ted Elasser and Brian McBride, two Monsanto scientists, was he
pasteurized milk for 30 minutes at 162F, and when I read that - I said,
wait a second, milk is pasteurized for 15 seconds at that temperature -
not 30 minutes. They intentionally tried to destroy the hormone, they
only destroyed 19% of it - somebody lied. And at that moment, FDA
said to Monsanto:  

"Because you destroy it by pasteurization, you don't have to do further
toxicology studies. You don't have to develop a test for this hormone in
milk. It's now safe to drink."  

They (FDA) developed a zero day withdrawal - they determined it was
safe to drink.  

We have a lot of political intrigue here. We have an interesting
situation where people have said that a revolving door policy exists at
FDA. I mean, where is the ex-FDA commissioner, guess who he is
working for? He is working for Monsanto. Bob Dole ran for President,
his Chief of Staff was Donald Rumsfeld (ex-president of Searle, owned
by Monsanto). I have one last comment,


I know, but we have a labeling issue here - we have a right to know - I
have listened to comments about "multi-faceted educational effort that
we need" - that's called brainwashing! I don't want a "multi-faceted
educational effort" - I want a double helical structure (AUDIENCE
APPLAUDS) on a piece of food that I'm going to buy in the
supermarket because I have a right to know.  

Because the bottom line is - mistakes were made and when I hear from
the American Dietetic Association, [ROBERT COHEN ADDRESSES A
that Monsanto gave you $100,000 to set up a toll-free hotline about the
bovine growth hormone.  

Mistakes were made! We've got political intrigue here and the bottom
line is we have a right to know what we are eating. Thank you.
IAHF:(International Advocates for Health Freedom)  
PO Box 625 Floyd, Virginia,24091, USA
800-333-2553, overseas: 540-745-6534, 540-745-6535 fax,   email:

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