By Robert Cohen Executive Director Text Only

A Conspiracy of Silence

They are not bad people, these co-conspirators. They merely
follow rule number one of self-preservation:

Never bite the hand that feeds you.

In this case, hundreds of millions of dollars of milk funds
fuel television and magazine ads. That is why no major media
source will touch the Flo Jo story. Editors, reporters,
researchers all know that the dairy industry does not get
mad, they get even.

On March 23, 1971, after receiving a $3 million cash bribe
from dairy leaders, recorded on a Watergate tape, Nixon
advisor John Connally said:

"These dairymen are organized, they're adamant, they're
militant...And they, they're massing an enormous amount of

Here is the Flo Jo autopsy. These are the facts:


Florence Griffith Joyner was an all-American hero.

This female African American became an admired role model to
all as a result of her Olympic achievements in track and
field. She crossed ethnic and racial barriers, and her life
became an inspiration to male and female, black and white,
young and old. Flo Jo, as she was most commonly known, was
wife and friend to Al Joyner and loving mother to her
daughter, Mary Ruth (Mo Jo).  She combined her athletic
ability with great looks, personality and business acumen to
build a financial empire that included her line of unique
clothing. She was in great demand as a motivational speaker,
and major corporations would seek her personal endorsement
of their products and services by offering enormous
financial inducements.

We will also remember Flo Jo by her appearance as a model
and spokeswoman for the dairy industry. She posed for a milk
mustache ad, and in doing so might very well have been
betrayed and killed by a product that did NOT do her body
good. Nature's perfect food for baby cows is most certainly
not nature's perfect food for African-Americans. Three-
quarters of the human population of planet earth cannot
tolerate lactose.  Estimates of lactose intolerance for
black people run as high as ninety-five percent. We shall
never know if Flo Jo was aware of this fact. What we do
assume is that dairy industry executives and dairy
scientists must know how black people are so affected. FDA
knows this truth and so does USDA.

Rest in peace, Flo Jo. Here is the official explanation of
your death, followed by contradictory evidence contained
within your actual autopsy.


Flo Jo was a magnificent athlete and had a beautifully well
developed and sculptured body. She was 1.65 m (5 feet 5
inches) tall and weighed a solid 69 kg (152 pounds). Many
people suspected that Flo Jo's magnificent physique, as well
as her athletic success and subsequent death might have been
caused by steroid or drug use. One task of the medical
examiner's office was to confirm or negate this suspicion.
An enormous collective sigh of relief might have been
produced by all of Flo Jo's friends and family when the
inquest and autopsy revealed no such steroid drug presence.

In order to come up with a cause, the coroner examined both
forensic and historical data. Many conversations between the
sheriff's department and the Dairy Education Board revealed
to me that an asthma link was not explored. The contents of
Flo Jo's stomach were not rigorously examined, a remarkable
omission in the case of any autopsy. Yet, the comments of
the autopsy surgeon are quite revealing.

The official cause of death was "positional asphyxia" due to
"epileptiform seizure."

The coroner had to fit this death into a series of
circumstances. After rejecting the steroid drug theory, a
timely explanation was critical. There had to be closure,
both for the family and for enormous financial
considerations which survived Flo Jo's death.

Positional asphyxia is the same term applied to prisoners
who die in police custody, handcuffed with one or more
police officers on their backs. It is the label given to the
deaths resulting from chokeholds. The medical examiner wrote
that Flo Jo died by suffocation. He concluded that she had
an epileptic seizure and smothered in her pillow.

Grand-mal epileptic seizures can be violent events. They are
rarely pillow-smothering events. The spasms included in such
seizures often evidence an array of confirming symptoms. One
treatment for epileptics suffering such seizures is to
protect the mouth and tongue, which can suffer abrasions and
bites. There was no blood found in Flo Jo's mouth and the
official autopsy reveals:

   "No trauma is noted on the lips or tongue."

There are many numerous signs and clues ignored by the

During the autopsy procedure I personally communicated with
members of the forensic team. I told them to explore whether
Flo Jo reacted to casein, the most allergenic of all bovine
proteins. Before his death, Dr. Benjamin Spock called this
milk and cheese protein the cause of most allergies. Casein
represents eighty percent of all milk protein! Casein is the
same glue used to hold a label to a bottle of beer and the
same glue used to hold together wood in furniture. Dr. Frank
Oski, once the Chief of Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins
University Hospital, called CASEIN the etiology of violent
allergic reactions in greater than 50% of ALL children.
African Americans cannot tolerate bovine sugars (lactose) or
proteins, and have a more marked negative response to these
milk components.


Residues of two drugs were detected in Flo Jo's blood. One
was aspirin and the other Benadryl. Benadryl is an
antihistamine. Flo Jo had histamines produced in her body.
She was congested. She took Benadryl to relive her
congestion. Why was it not clear that Flo Jo took Benadryl
because she experienced congestion from mucus? I had many
conversations with the coroner's office. "Look at the
lungs," I pleaded. "Examine the contents of her stomach." I
was told that this was not necessary. I wondered why not.

If dairy products, particularly cheese, were found in her
stomach, this could at the very least confirm the suspicion
of a violent histological reaction to milk protein Page
three of the autopsy contains the smoking gun:


"The stomach contains 250 cc of digested material including
some yellow flecks, possibly cheese."

Flo Jo ate her last meal at 3:00 PM, pizza.

Digested material? Had it been digested it would not have
been recognizable! Two hundred and fifty cubic centimeters
of material, fifteen hours later


Here is what the autopsy reveals about Flo Jo's internal


"The lobes of the lungs are light-pink-to-dark-purple with
marked congestion and a large amount of frothy fluid exuding
with pressure. The lumen of the tracheobronchial tree
contains mucus and frothy fluid." Flo Jo's lungs were
congested. She could not breathe.


"The small and large bowels show congestion...the liver has
a congested appearance... pancreas, congested appearance...
the pyramids of the kidneys are congested... section shows
marked acute congestion...cut sections of the adrenal glands
show acute congestion...a large amount of frothy fluid is
present in the larynx...cut sections of the thyroid gland
show congestion...congestion is noted in the pancreas."

On and on, organ after organ, filled with a glue produced by
the body's defense to this powerful allergen and tenacious


Flo Jo's death was a tragedy. Her life was a symbol of
inspiration to us all. From death she cries to us with a
powerful message which the medical examiner missed. Such a
message places suspicion and blame upon an industry who
hired her to betray those who trusted her with the dairy
message. Milk did Flo Jo's body no good at all. Milk and
dairy products do no good for those who have asthmatic
reactions to casein. The medical examiner noted that those
yellow flecks in her stomach were "possibly cheese." The
medical examiner did not consider the fact that Benadryl was
taken by Flo Jo to battle congestion. The medical examiner d
id not consider a link between the congestion in her
internal organs to the Benadryl or the common reaction to
bovine proteins, particularly CASEIN, which represents
eighty percent of all milk protein.

Flo Jo paid for her ignorance with her precious and
beautiful life. After Flo Jo's death, William Rhoden of the
New York Times wrote:

"Flo Jo ran like the wind; critics said she was wind aided.
Flo Jo ran with power; they said it was drug aided. Flo Jo
ran with style; critics said that with six-inch fingernails
and bodysuits, her career was a triumph of style over
substance. Now Florence Griffith Joyner is gone, dead at the
age of 38, and there is nothing else to say."

Yes, there is much more to say. Help defeat this conspiracy
of silence. By sending this to friends, you may very well
save a life.

Robert Cohen, author of:   MILK A-Z
Executive Director (
Dairy Education Board

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