The Dairy Education Board
Diary for March 2000

By Robert Cohen Executive Director Text

March 2000 Hungerstrike Diary (1 March is day 116)
(SHORTCUT: Click on day to go there!)

03-01-2000 DAY 116 - Threats... and digital trails
03-02-2000 DAY 117 - The garden of eden; then and now
03-03-2000 DAY 118 - No more "Frankenfish"
03-04-2000 DAY 119 - Organic consumers association
03-05-2000 DAY 120 - A presidential candidate worth supporting
03-06-2000 DAY 121 - The CODEX DELEGATES (let YOURS know YOUR position!)
03-07-2000 DAY 122 - W.H.O.'s In Control?!
03-08-2000 DAY 123 - The Secret CODE-X
03-09-2000 DAY 124 - Mr. Cohen goes to congress
03-10-2000 DAY 125 - Coming Home
03-11-2000 DAY 126 - Sugar, spice, and everything nice...
03-12-2000 DAY 127 - Guest editorial
03-13-2000 DAY 128 - A scarlet letter to the CODEX delegates
03-14-2000 DAY 129 - When the corn hits the fan
03-15-2000 DAY 130 - Who created the fruit of the vine (boray pre hagofen)
03-16-2000 DAY 131 - These cornballs have got your ear
03-17-2000 DAY 132 - A return to the age of aquarius
03-18-2000 DAY 133 - Grand slam home run!
03-19-2000 DAY 134 - The CLOCK is running... FDA
03-20-2000 DAY 135 - Three letters
03-21-2000 DAY 136 - Truth or Consequences
03-22-2000 DAY 137 - "CATCH 22"
03-23-2000 DAY 138 - Anecdote?  NOT FUNNY!
03-24-2000 DAY 139 - The NOTMILK story according to HEALTHGATE
03-25-2000 DAY 140 - It's been a busy week
03-26-2000 DAY 141 - Suppose they held a meeting, and everybody came!
03-27-2000 DAY 142 - Top ten reasons why no company will sell me life insurance
03-28-2000 DAY 143 - The view from above
03-29-2000 DAY 144 - Top ten future biotechnology errors
03-30-2000 DAY 145 - The "domino letter" from FDA to Monsanto
03-31-2000 DAY 146 - Solidarity

****************** Wednesday, March 1 Today is the 116th day of my hunger strike. I receive hundreds of veiled threats every year. Many of them are made by angry people who know not to cross "the line." Some of those threats are rather witty. Examples are "I hope you get run over by a milk truck." Or "I hope that a herd of stampeding bovines runs through your living room and tramples you to a painful death." I usually ignore these threats. A few years ago, I received a threat from a man in Kentucky. Some Internet sleuthing found that the same individual had posted similar threats to government officials. The threats to me and to the government officials included references to plastic explosives. The FBI was very happy when they obtained this man's address, and he was arrested. Yesterday, I received a new threat. When threats contain every four-letter word you can imagine and include the most offensive of all four-letter words, "kill," I immediately called my police department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Should you not be aware, please be informed that every computer e-mail message contains a unique electronic signature, even those that are forged. Please also be aware that when threats are made by telephone, instantaneous electronic memories are created, even if you have call-blocking capability on your telephone. I am not amused by death threats. They are against the law, and those who make them, at the very least, need serious help and they may very well find themselves with free room and board at a government institution. POSTSCRIPT This morning I found out who made the threat. I spoke to his mother who was in tears. The young man, aged 18, has not learned the lesson of Columbine High School. I have let the FBI know that I will not be pressing charges, and that the threat was an exercise in extremely poor judgement and not an intention to do physical harm to myself or my webmaster. ***************** Thursday, March 2 Today is the 118th day of my hunger strike. My thanks to two authors for the following - Gene Hudon and you-know-who. GENESIS I:29-31 "God said, 'See, I give you every seed-bearing plant that is upon all the earth, and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit; that shall be yours for food. And to all the animals on land, to all the birds of the sky, and to everything that creeps on earth, in which there is the breath of life, I give all the green plants for food.' And it was so. And God saw all that he had made, and found it very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day." AND CODEX SAID, "Behold, we have more power on earth than God. Therefore, possession of any medicinal herb-bearing seed which is upon the face of all the earth, shall be a crime punishable by a fine, imprisonment, or both unless it can be patented by pharmaceutical companies and sold at obscene profits to a brainwashed public." I am in philosophical agreement with both authors, and I have been given an opportunity, however minor, to let those in CODEX with the power know how I/we feel on a variety of food safety issues. My trip to Japan is just nine days away, and I am preparing by studying the many different issues. *************** Friday, March 3 Today is the 118th day of my hunger strike. If you are eating the standard American diet (the SAD diet), do you take time to ask your fish supplier where those filets of salmon come from? It has been reported that salmon and trout injected with genetically engineered bovine growth hormone grow faster and fatter after injections of rbGH. This technique produces more questions than it answers. For example, do the fish moo before they are gutted, and will Ben and Jerry's one day market Tooti Frutti Trout? This week, the Associated Press reported a major New Zealand controversy regarding an experiment gone horribly wrong in Blenheim's New Zealand King Salmon Company. The down-under fish purveyors were breeding mutant Chinook salmon in a "Frankenfish" experiment. Secret documents, leaked to the press, revealed that deformed fish heads and gargantuan salmon ended all attempts by this firm to genetically engineer fish. The company has agreed to kill all of its genetically engineered fish and immediately suspend its research. New information has been given to the Food & Drug Administration revealing that Monsanto created "freak" amino acids by genetically engineering the bovine growth hormone. Unfortunately, there were no whistle blowers at Monsanto in 1992 when the company deceived the FDA and withheld this very important information despite their legal obligation to report all adverse research activity. Thank goodness for the "publish or perish" mentality shared by scientists. A few days after receiving approval for their genetically modified monstrosity, Monsanto scientist Bernard Violand submitted a paper to a scientific journal admitting the error. We will not let Monsanto get away with deceiving the world in the same manner in which they lied to the Food & Drug Administration. We trust that FDA will see the truth and revoke Monsanto's hormone from the market. ********************* Today is the 119th day of my hunger strike. The Organic Consumers Association is a grass roots Minnesota organization that has made an enormous difference in America's food standards. Founder Ron Cummins once worked for activist Jeremy Rifkin and now runs the Pure Food Campaign. In 1998, this organization helped gather 270,000 written comments on organic food standards, which helped influence USDA standards and policy. This passionate people are activist and lobbyists and ask you to join them. They will be happy to mail you genetically engineered foods petitions, fact sheets, leaflets, and bumper stickers. Contact Debbie Ortman at 218-726-1443 or by e-mail: More information is contained on Ronnie Cummins' site: *************** Sunday, March 5 Today is the 120th day of my hunger strike. John Hagelin is the presidential candidate for the Natural Law Party. Founded in 1992, the Natural Law Party was created as a new, mainstream political party that would offer voters "forward-looking, prevention-oriented, scientifically proven solutions to America's problems." In 1996, the Natural Law Party ran 400 candidates on the ballot in 48 states-candidates who received a total of several million votes-and John Hagelin was the only third-party candidate to receive federal matching funds. In the 2000 election campaign, the Natural Law Party is on target to run 2000 candidates on the ballot in all 50 states-the largest third-party effort in U.S. history. John Hagelin is a strong supporter of the American farmer, but rejects the multi-national corporation chemical approach to agriculture. Here is a part of Hagelin's platform: "Conventional agriculture erodes and degrades soil; it requires large-scale use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers that pollute groundwater and are unhealthy for consumers and farmers." Hagelin is anti-biotechnology and genetic engineering. I applaud him for the following position: "Federal agencies have decided that some genetically engineered plant and animal products (such as recombinant bovine growth hormone -- rbGH -- which boosts milk production) are safe, despite the growing concerns of many scientists and the fact that the Canadian government has outlawed rbGH due to health concerns. Virtually all European nations have banned rbGH and other hormone treatment in livestock. Many products similar to rbGH are under review. In addition, many foods that have been genetically engineered with pig, insect, virus, or bacteria genes are already being sold in supermarkets. Yet these genetically altered foods are not labeled as such - despite well-documented health risks from some genetically engineered foods." Hagelin deserves your support. For more information, call the Natural Law Party at: 800-332-0000 and visit their website: *************** Monday, March 6 Today is the 121st day of my hunger strike. Here is a list of e-mail addresses to some of the key players (and voting members) of CODEX Alimentarius, the world organization that will make a determination as to what foods you will be eating, what genetically modified organisms will be contained in those foods, and how they are to be labeled. Won't you take a few minutes and send the following letter to these scientists and politicians: Dear Delegate: You will be meeting in Japan to determine the safety and labeling requirements for genetically modified organisms. The United States is sending a delegation representing companies and industries supporting genetically engineered foods. America's traditional position has been that consumers have no right to know what they are eating. Perhaps that position will change. One of the members of the U.S. delegation, Robert Cohen, possesses important information and real science proving the dangers of genetically modified foods. Cohen's information details a corrupt U.S. Food & Drug Administration with enormous conflicts of interest. For background information, please review the scientific evidence at: Mr. Cohen will be staying at the Hotel New Otani Makuhari in Chiba, Japan during the conference, and has additional information. He welcomes the opportunity to give you important evidence. Here are the e-mail addresses and nations represented by 37 of the delegates: ARGENTINA AUSTRALIA BANGLADESH BELGIUM BOLIVIA BOTSWANA BRAZIL CANADA CHILE CHINA CUBA CZECH REPUBLIC DENMARK ETHIOPIA FRANCE GERMANY GUATEMALA HUNGARY INDIA IRELAND ITALY LITHUANIA MALAWI MALAYSIA MOLDOVA NEW ZEALAND NORWAY john.race@ PORTUGAL SAINT LUCIA SLOVAK REPUBLIC SPAIN SWITZERLAND TANZANIA THAILAND UGANDA **************** Tuesday, March 7 Today is the 122nd day of my hunger strike. Who makes the decisions in your family for what you buy and eat? How do you make choices? Is it a television ad with a clown selling MacBurgers or is it a sexy model extolling the virtues of milk mustaches? Is it your love for elves that influences your cookie choices or was it the Frito Bandito who first sent you to the supermarket seeking out crunchy munchies? Personalities, cartoon characters, and role models influence our buying decisions. Once you are in the supermarket, brightly colored packaging plays a greater role in influencing the typical consumer than food content. Animals could not live on a diet of nutritionally bankrupt puffed cereal. American consumers are trapped into a food failure chain that only benefits health care practitioners. Your choices for the 21st century will be made by alphabet soup organizations like the FAO (Food & Agriculture Organization), WTO (World Trade Organization), WHO (World Health Organization), and CODEX Alimentarius (nobody knows what the heck that stands for). Americans were shocked to witness police riots this past fall in the streets of Seattle. Peaceful demonstrators were sprayed with pepper spray because they were protesting lack of representation in the decision-making process regarding issues that will concern all Americans. This week, Reuters News Service published secret FAO documents revealing United Nations' fears concerning the use of biotechnology on people's health and the environment. Insiders who will decide what you eat are secretly talking about their fears and the implications of human and animal health and the balance of eco-systems regarding the use of genetically modified organisms. The document was given to Reuters by FAO officials in France, and the story was written by Paule Bonjean. FAO is worried about many things, including the loss of traditional crops, the risk of unexpected allergens, and new plant varieties that might overwhelm existing varieties and the environment. In a few days, I will be in Tokyo and will be carefully discussing these issues with those "insiders." ****************** Wednesday, March 8 Today is the 123rd day of Robert Cohen's hunger strike. Mr. Cohen is in Washington meeting with members of Congress and will report personally from Washington tomorrow. This official United Nations-funded agency is called CODEX Alimentarius, and while each member country of the United Nations has a delegate representing that nation, the powers that be, when making decisions, are lobbied and influenced by multi-national corporations. The United States delegate, Robert Lake, is employed by the Food & Drug Administration, and his position is "Americans do not need to know that they are consuming GMOs." Lake has created an international controversy maintaining that attitude. In fact, his position has isolated the United States, as most nations have a policy of rejecting genetically engineered grains, meat, and dairy products. In February, Mr. Lake sent letters to ten individuals inviting them to be members of the U.S. delegation to the CODEX biotechnology and food labeling session in Tokyo, Japan on March 13-17. Most of the members of that delegation bring enormous conflicts of interest to Japan as they represent pharmaceutical companies slated to make billions from this new technology. These CODEX delegates have been vigorously lobbying Congress to reject proposed food labeling bills (HR 3377 & S-2080). In order to balance the U.S. delegation, Mr. Lake invited one outspoken critic of biotechnology, Robert Cohen. On March 7, three days before the "team" was to leave for Japan, Mr. Cohen was uninvited. He has been unceremoniously removed from the American delegation. In theory, the United States position has yet to be determined. Mr. Lake's letter to Robert Cohen, however, clearly proves that the decision has already been made. Lake wrote: "I have come to the conclusion, in my capacity as the delegate, that you intend to work against our delegation and will not support the U. S. in Tokyo. It is clearly not in the best interest of the United States for a member of our delegation to be advocating positions to other delegations that undermine U.S. positions during the meeting. I am, therefore, by e-mail and this letter notifying you that I am effective this date, removing you from the delegation." "…undermine U.S. positions?" Cohen believes that Americans have the right to know what they eat. For six years, he has been trying to get FDA to release a study (authored by Richard, Odaglia, and Deslex) claiming that laboratory animals got cancer from the genetically engineered bovine growth hormone. Cohen possesses evidence that Monsanto created "freak" amino acids while manufacturing that hormone and claims that Monsanto defrauded the FDA by not revealing those errors. Monsanto lobbyist, C. Everett Koop, assured Americans that milk from cows treated with the genetically engineered bovine growth hormone was identical to "wholesome" milk. Cohen is now off the committee. America's loss is Monsanto's gain. Mr. Lake should be held accountable for his preconceived position despite the sham of his claim that he is neutral. Bias and arrogance spell betrayal for the wishes of Americans. The secret CODE-X will conduct its business out-of-sight from America's media. ***************** Thursday, March 9 This is the 124th day of my hunger strike. This is "a day in the life" of Robert Cohen or "all's not so quiet on the Washington front." On Wednesday, I had a pretty full slate. My first visit was to the Rayburn House Office Building where I visited three congressional offices, meeting with aides and dropping off information. I am asking members of Congress to support bills that will give Americans the right to know if they are consuming foods containing genetically modified organisms (HR 3377 & S-2080). To label or not to label, that is the question. I am requesting in each visit Congressional and Senate support for the above referenced bills. I am also asking for one thing more. America needs a congressional investigation. The Congressional police department is the Government Accounting Office (GAO), and their investigators possess a pit bull-like tenacity for exposing fraud and deceit. Unfortunately, fraud and deceit are the blue plate special at FDA. This not-so appetizing dish has become both entrée and not-so just dessert. PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE In the afternoon, I attended the CODEX session despite the fact that I had been thrown off the American team. My presence was not welcomed by many of the people in the room, including a large group who I refer to as the "Monsanto delegation." The issue of my dismissal and freedom of speech were brought up in a telephone conference call by Phil Mariano of the Seattle Council for Responsible Genetics. I was given every opportunity to speak and admit to taking up more than my fair share of the meeting with dozens of well-vocalized comments and criticisms. The room was filled with pro-biotechnology lobbyists who outnumbered those who are against genetic engineering by a factor of ten times. There was a woman from Consumers Union and one or two others who I recognized, including good friend and consumer watchdog, Maury Silverman. I asked very tough, to-the-point questions about conflicts of interest and about Monarch butterflies that die when they eat pollen from genetically engineered corn. Towards the end of the three-hour session, I counted 60 pro-biotechnology representatives and five who are not, and I came to the great realization that these people are in it only for the money. Before the meeting ended, one man stood up, turned around and pointed at me, and said, "If Robert Cohen did not exist, we would have had to invent him." I really did not know what he meant by that, but he was derisive in his nature, and I wasted no time in responding. I said angrily, "If Robert Cohen did not exist, who would have told you that Monsanto created five "freak" amino acids and defrauded the FDA? Who would have told you that laboratory animals got cancer from the bovine growth hormone? Who would have told you that today's meeting is a complete sham and who would be leading the initiative into demanding a GAO investigation of this entire biased process?" After the meeting broke up, I sat in the back of the room and made eye contact with as many departing members of the session as I could. It took 20 minutes for the room to empty as little conversations always persist if an audience exits. Finally, there were just two people left in the room, myself and Robert Lake, the man who threw me off the CODEX team. Lake walked to the back of the room and sat down next to me and, taking a deep breath, he sighed. I looked at him and said, "Robert, they don't give a damn. Not one person in this room gives a damn. These are lobbyists who have a job to do and fill into a slot in a company, and if they had some other job, they wouldn't be here. For the last five years, these are the people who have had your ear. These are the people who make America's policy. You don't have people from the other side talking to you on the phone, and one day, Robert, it's going to happen and you know it. There's going to be an incident. There may be something approaching bio-devastation and you're the man. And I'm going to hold you most responsible for this." Lake looked at me and said, "I really don't understand all of the intricacies of the bovine growth hormone controversy." I explained to him the basics and related the fact that this was the best example of how genetic engineering produces surprises, and that our mechanisms rely upon truthful applicants. We held each other's eyes, then wished each other good luck and that ended the first of three days. **************** Friday, March 10 Today is the 125th day of my hunger strike. On Thursday morning, I went to the press office in the Capitol Building and, armed with my letter of introduction from Garr Smith (editor of "Earth Island Journal"), I was issued press credentials. I attended Congressman Dennis Kucinich's press conference at which time he announced that he would be sponsoring the Genetically Engineered Food Safety Act. Congressman Bernard Sanders also attended the press conference and his reaction to my first question left the audience of reporters laughing. I asked: "In 1994, a similar act died in session, and a subsequent investigation of the members of that committee revealed that some congressmen accepted PAC money directly from Monsanto while stalling a bill that would have labeled milk and dairy products from cows treated with Monsanto's hormone." Sanders deadpanned his response, looked at Kucinich, and said, "Dennis, I didn't know we have a problem up here on the Hill with members accepting money to buy influence. Does that really happen?" The second part of my question revealed that the current proposed bill will go to the Commerce Committee. After the press conference, I continued visiting members of the House of Representatives, and I am pleased to announce that there is a good possibility that one other member of Congress will be supporting Kuchinich's bill as a result of my efforts. Congressman Danny Davis from Chicago has always been a champion for the rights of people and that includes giving Americans the right to know whether or not they eat genetically engineered foods. You can help show Congressman Davis that Americans support this bill. Please urge Davis' Chief of Staff by e-mailing your support to: ****************** Saturday, March 11 Today is the 126th day of my hunger strike. Yesterday, I was the third person to testify at USDA's final Dietary Guidelines Committee meeting. The Dietary Guidelines Committee report will dictate the components of next year's amended USDA Food Pyramid. The first person to testify was a representative of the salt lobby and the second was from the sugar lobby. Both testified and criticized that excess amounts of their commodities were not considered to be components of a healthy diet. I couldn't resist the opportunity, and I addressed the panel, which included two under-secretaries, Eileen Kennedy and Shirley Watkins. I said: "You heard from sugar and spice, and now you're going to hear from everything nice." I have testified at many committee hearings but this is the first time I was specifically asked to not only state my name and affiliation, but also include my source of funding. I said: "My name is Robert Cohen and I represent the Dairy Education Board, and we operate on a shoestring budget, and I pay for the shoestrings." I then proceeded to attack with great prejudice. "Dr. Kennedy, you asked the speakers to reveal their sources of funding, and the American people want to know, who is financing you? We know that you are on the Board of Directors for the Dannon Yogurt Research Foundation, and you, Dr. Watkins, speak at industry-financed trade groups and travel to America's Native American reservations in the North and South Dakota promoting the increased use of milk and cheese for people who can least tolerate it. Culberto Garza at Cornell University (listening on a conference-call phone line) receives $500,000 a year from the USDA, and he serves as the official advisor for the dairy industry and milk processors, and has been doing so for many years. Seven other members of the Food Guidelines Committee have serious conflicts of interest and receive funding from the dairy industry. I sat with the Vice-President and Senator Barbara Boxer yesterday, and heard them both condemn the money stream and conflicts of interest that reflect a lack of integrity by Washington bureaucrats." I also told the panel that I held them in contempt and that Americans demand an unbiased approach. I asked them if there were not qualified scientists, nutritionists, and dieticians without such baggage. Following my presentation was Dr. Neal Barnard from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). Barnard eloquently made his presentation, which included a request to recognize soymilk as a healthy non-hormone alternative to milk and dairy products. The entire transcript of my three-minute presentation, as well as all of the other comments, will be posted on the USDA website in ten days. I have dictated this diary entry from the airport and look forward to returning home to my Acme Juicer, wife, and kids, not necessarily in that order. After three days of drinking Washington water and breathing Washington air, I need a good, healthy carrot juice detox. **************** Sunday, March 12 GUEST EDITORIAL Today is the 127th day of my hunger strike. Here is a letter/editorial from Deborah Best of Anaheim Hills, California. Deborah is a pre-med student, and she has sent this letter to many newspapers. After you read it, perhaps you could send this or your own letter to your paper: ------------------------------------- THE PEOPLE WHO ARE BREAKING THE WORLD The FDA has given carte blanche to such conglomerates as Monsanto to do as they please for maximum profitability in creating genetically tampered foods. These foods are then sold to the American Public without labeling under the guise they are "substantially equivalent" to what they were before and that genetic engineering is the same as conventional breeding. I fail to see the similarity between a strawberry and a strawberry with fish genes, or a soy bean and a soy bean immune to Round Up. Yet the government tells us these products are "substantially equivalent" which in lay terms means there is no scientific basis, there is no rigorous testing, there is no labeling, and worst of all there is no monitoring to protect traditional un-modified crops from the invasion of genetically engineered crops. In other words, our government has subjugated its people to the status of guinea pigs without their knowledge and may very well have contaminated the world. This weekend our government will be sending a delegation to the international CODEX Alimentarius in Tokyo March 14-17. How many of your readers know what this is? CODEX was founded in 1962 by the United Nations and comes under the direction of the World Health Organization (WHO). It has no authority to dictate national regulations yet the World Trade Organization bases its free trade policy on the decisions of CODEX. This means that if CODEX agrees to a certain rule and any country does not follow that rule, that country will be charged by the World Trade Organization for obstructing free international trade. The fines are extraordinary. Member nations of the CODEX committee will be determining whether or not genetically modified organisms will be added to your foods and how and if they will be labeled. The United States which has the greatest monetary interest in Genetic Engineering has been lobbying for international deregulation of labeling. It was turned down in 1997 by a great majority. In 1998 Europe, India and most Asian countries demanded that all genetically modified foods be labeled. The United States, Brazil, Canada, New Zealand and Australia proposed very limited labeling requirements. The American delegate to CODEX is an employee of the FDA, Robert Lake. Mr. Lake has invited the following people to represent the U.S. Jeffrey Barach of the National Food Processors Association, Kyd Brenner of the Corn Refiners Association, David Hettinga from Land O' Lakes, David Hegwood from O'Mara Associates (a consulting firm for the soy and cotton industry), Alex Jackson from the American Farm Bureau Federation (representing 200,000+ farms), C.W. McMillan who is a former USDA Assistant Secretary, Henry Miller of the Hoover Institution (an ex-FDA regulator who was on the original team that approved the first genetically engineered products), Michael Phillips, the executive director for Food & Agriculture, a biotechnology industry organization. Robert Cohen, the only delegate opposed to the unregulated practice of bioengineering of our food supply and the only delegate in support of comprehensive labeling of genetically manipulated foods Mr. Lake had informed the delegates that they are obliged to support the position of the United States. This meant that Mr. Cohen would not be able to speak as a free citizen of the United States and voice his concern and view regarding genetically manipulated foods. Therefore, many of us who have taken the time to question our government's obvious inability to simply protect us by informing us that we are consuming genetically manipulated foods, wrote to the CODEX delegates representing all the other countries to inform them that there are many, many Americans who have very serious doubts about genetically manipulated foods and who want definitive labeling. Monday of this week, the 6th of March, Robert Lake removed Mr. Cohen from the CODEX meeting and thereby removed the voice of us Americans who are very concerned about what our families are eating. Many scientists and physicians have come forward stating adamantly their concern regarding genetically engineered foods. Our government is also ignoring them. The people need to know that genetic engineering recombines genetic material in the laboratory between species that do not interbreed whatsoever in Nature. The people need to know the truth on how genetic control and balanced functioning created by Nature is LOST through random splicing of foreign genes into host DNA. The insertion of a foreign gene into the midst of a DNA sequence disrupts the ordinary coding and can disturb the functioning of a cell in unpredictable and potentially hazardous ways. The people need to know that scientists understand the function of less than 5% of all DNA. Everything else is unknown territory. Bioscience depends on reductionism - the idea that by analyzing the parts, the properties of the whole can be deduced. Yet in 1999, "Science Magazine" cited examples of complex systems that can in no way be fully explained by an understanding of its parts. In addition it is now thought that important cell processes occur on a quantum physical level. What will the effect of a foreign gene have on the harmony of the whole? The New England Journal of Medicine, Nature Biotechnology and International Journal Food Science Tech have all reported incidences of genetically modified organisms producing unanticipated toxins or allergens. The people need to know the truth about gene vectors, the Trojan horses, that genetic manipulation uses to cross the gene barrier which is Nature's way of insuring no cross breeding of species. The people need to know that gene vectors resist breakdown in the gut of mammals and that through ingestion a long term enteric reservoir for replication, recombination and dispersal of gene vectors has been created. The people need to know about naked DNA which is ploughed into the fields after a crop is harvested and finds its way through horizontal transfer into soil microorganisms especially bacteria. Recent findings show that the presence of antibiotics, which are extensively used in farming, greatly increases the frequency of horizontal gene transfer. The people need to know that this infected bacteria can spread on dust and on water and can be ingested by insects or birds and spread transcontinentally. The people need to know about bacteriophage viruses and their ability to transfer DNA through transduction or mating which can contribute to a further uncontrolled spread of genetically engineered genes. The people need to ask the government what plans they have to clean up contamination of genetic mistakes in our soil and water. What forms of treatment and insurance will be available for people who have been contaminated? The people need to ask the government why it has given carte blanche in the form of SELF-REGULATION to genetic tampering conglomerates such as Monsanto, Dupont, Dow, Hoechst and Novartis along with upstarts such as Ceres, Inc. Mendel Biotechnology and Paradigm Genetics. The people need to ask the government for the data supplied by Monsanto regarding its Roundup Ready Soybeans and how Monsanto determined their soybeans were safe for HUMAN consumption. A Monsanto official told the NEW YORK TIMES that the corporation should not have to take responsibility for the safety of its food products. "Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food," said Phil Angell, Monsanto's director of corporate communications. "Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the FDA's job," Angell said. The people need to ask the government about U.S. Patent 5,723,765, entitled "Control of Plant Gene Expression". The patent covers technology referred to as a plant "Technology Protection System" (TPS), otherwise known as Terminator Technology = the "kill gene" - that Monsanto, Delta and Pine Land Company have designed. The Terminator is a group of genes that can be spliced into any crop plant with one deadly result - sterilization of all of the plant's seeds. If this technology is adopted, the control of seed production will move from the farmer's field to corporate headquarters and farmers will become wholly dependent upon corporations for seeds. The TIMES said , "The Terminator will allow companies like Monsanto to privatize one of the last great commons in nature --the genetics of the crop plants that civilization has developed over the past 10,000 years." The patent covers ALL PLANTS..... The people need to ask the government why there is no data available to provide us with estimates of the possible harm that has just been released. The people need to ask the government why the USDA, the agency responsible for ecological safety, "has not rejected a single application for a genetically engineered crop," even though scientists say "the department has frequently relied on unsupported claims and shoddy studies by the seed companies" as reported in the NEW YORK TIMES. Also reported in the same article was the statement that "the Agriculture Department has set no scientific standard for proving the environmental safety of a plant." The Agriculture Department only asks "that petitioners explain why the new plant is unlikely or likely to pose a number of broadly defined risks." How about that for science??? The people need to ask the government why U.S. Farmers have not been able to find an international market for their genetically engineered crops. What do other countries know that our government will not acknowledge? The people need to ask food manufacturers such as Nestle why they have pulled genetically engineered foods out of the products in Europe but not in the United States. Why the double standard? Why did a representative of Nestle tell representatives of major seed companies and representatives of the biotech community at a recent industrial conference, " Don't expect us to take a bullet for your GMO products." The people need to ask the government why the British Medical Association, representing 115,000 doctors, called for "an open-ended moratorium on the planting of GM crops, a ban on releasing GMOs into the environment, and a review of the World Trade Agreement to ensure that human health and safety take precedence over global trade in foodstuffs and seed," reported PA News. What do they know that our government doesn't want us to know? The people need to ask the government about the reports coming in from Scotland to Switzerland on how the genetically tampered crops with pesticide resistance are killing off the beneficial insects also. What about the monarch butterflies at Cornell University? And for those of you only interested in the financial gains - Why did Deutsche Bank, the second largest bank in the world, state in a recent report " GMOs are, in our opinion, becoming a liability to farmers, " as they warn investors of the development of a two-tier grain market in which genetically modified crops will trade at a "discount" to non- genetically modified crops. It is already happening. Deutsche Bank also warns the world to "look out" when the average U.S. citizen finally finds out about genetically modified foods in its recent report "Ag Biotech: Thanks But No Thanks" The people need to ask Robert Lake, head of US delegation to CODEX, Commissioner Dr. Jane Henney of the FDA, Jeffrey Barach of the National Food Processors Association - the voice of the $460 billion food processing industry, Kyd Brenner of the Corn Refiners Association, David Hettinga from Land O' Lakes, David Hegwood from O'Mara Associates, Alex Jackson from the American Farm Bureau Federation, C.W. McMillan, former USDA Assistant Secretary, Henry Miller of the Hoover Institution , Michael Phillips, the executive director for Food & Agriculture, Dan Glickmann Secretary of Agriculture, Robert B. Shapiro, Richard J. Mahoney, Philip Needleman, Ph.D. all of Monsanto, who just made over $100 million between them in Monsanto stock, Kelloggs, Nestle, Quaker Oats, Pillsbury, Crisco, Kraft Foods, Green Giant, Campbell Soup, Mc Donald's, President Clinton, Farmers who plant these crops, the U.S.D.A. and YOUR SUPERMARKET who support genetic manipulation -- WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO OUR FOOD????? Remember our government used to tell us we would be safe under our desks in case of an atomic bomb attack... WAKE UP AMERICA, PLEASE WAKE UP..... But - wait a minute - isn't this a government of the people, by the people and for the people? Maybe we need to ask ourselves these questions and why we are allowing this all to happen. ----------------------- Citizens motivated to correspond with their elected officials visit **************** Monday, March 13 Today is the 128th of my hunger strike. Nations from around the world will meet with the American delagation in Tokyo. The American group should be called: The Monsanto delegation. Here is a letter that I delivered to the other world members on the eve of their departure: SCARLET LETTER TO CODEX DELEGATES --------------------------------- Dear CODEX members, I was to be a member of America's delegation to Japan, but my participation has been TERMINATED by the American delegate. Our Congress is considering laws that will label foods containing genetically modified organisms. Many of the members of the American delegation have paid money through lobbying and gifts to members of our Congess and Senate to try and defeat those proposed laws. The conflicts of interest, lack of integrity, and corruption on the part of the American delegation is a symbol of why America is losing respect throughout the world. By placing me on the ten-member team, Robert Lake made a symbolic choice that was in reality, merely a concession to the voices of dissent. By taking me off the team just a few days before the Tokyo meeting, Mr. Lake revealed more than just his bias and pre-determined position. Mr. Lake revealed that the United States delegation is actually the Monsanto delegation. Make no mistake, ladies and gentleman of the world... genetic engineering DOES NOT WORK! Monsanto created "freak amino acids" and hid the truth from the Food and Drug Administration. REAL SCIENCE: Monsanto lied and committed fraud. FDA continues to deceive the people of the United States and the world. Here is a symbolic depiction Monsanto's power: Will you exercise the strength of your convictions and possess the integrity to resist America's agenda? ***************** Tuesday, March 14 Today is the 129th day of my hunger strike. Six months ago, Steven Sprinkel reported some very bad news regarding Monsanto's Roundup-Ready corn and soybeans (ACRES, USA, September 18, 1999). Sprinkel's evidence is anecdotal. Sadly, FDA does not require manufacturers of genetically engineered agricultural products to produce studies demonstrating human safety. Farmers' observations, collected by this reporter, give all consumers reasons to be concerned. One can question the integrity of scientists and politicians and reporter, but, in the long run, one believes their testimony. Reporters have a code of ethics, and journalists do not last long in their field if they make up stories. I have no choice but to believe Steve Sprinkle's observations, but I also have no proof. That being said, here is what Mr. Sprinkel wrote after interviewing many of America's farmers for his biotechnology story: "Darwin's Tree is Upside-Down Why, you can put your cattle out into GMO corn stubble and they just won't touch it. Oh, they'll bite that new brome down to the ground, but they won't eat the GMO corn stubble. After four months of retrieving anecdotes from Kansas to Wisconsin, I think its high time to sample the producer community more thoroughly to see how many stories there are out there. About the hogs that wouldn't eat the ration when the GMO crops were included. About the farmer who said " Well, if you want your cattle to go off their feed, just switch them out to a GMO silage." About the farmer who said that his cattle broke through an old fence and ate down the non-GMO hybrids but wouldn't touch the Round-up ready corn, and as a matter of fact " They had to walk through the GMOs to get to the Pioneer 3477 on the other side." About the cattleman who saw the weight-gain of his cattle fall off when he switched over to GMO sources. About the organic farmer with a terrible deer problem on his soybeans, and when he drives out at night there are forty of them mowing down his tofu beans while across the road there isn't one doe eating on the Round-up Readies. About the raccoons romping by the dozen in the organic corn, while down the road there isn't one ear that's been touched in the Bt fields. Even the mice will move on down the line if given an alternative to these "crops". What is it that they know instinctively that most of us ignore? I have been traveling around with a bag of contaminated cob corn on the floor of my vehicle, and I have begun to think of it as if it was a bag of plutonium. My truck should probably be de-contaminated by a Haz-Mat facility. I should probably be put under observation to see what the affect of so much exposure to glyphos and Bt pollen has done to me. I'll bet my blood will kill mosquitoes now." ******************* Wednesday, March 15 Today is the 130th day of my hunger strike. Each morning during my fast, I have started my day with the juice of a lemon squeezed into a 12-ounce glass of bottled water. I use no sweetener and enjoy the smell and taste of the fresh citrus. This morning, I was just in the mood for something a bit more substantial. After my lemon juice, I went to the refrigerator where I had stored about two quarts of extra large red grapes. You've had these grapes before. You've bitten into these mini water balloons and an explosion of flavor and liquid has filled your mouth. These are fruits with seeds, but they are much more flavorful than the ones that have been engineered and cross-pollinated to be smaller, less tasty, and seedless. As I drank the juice, I went back in my mind 40 years to a Mighty Mouse Welch's Grape Juice commercial. I've always loved the smell and taste of that purple juice, but the fresh variety is nothing like the "dead" cooked version. If you've tasted fresh apple cider and apple juice, you know the difference and can relate. When I attended the Culinary Institute of America in 1973, I was fortunate enough to dine at a meal attended by supporters of that university. One of the dishes served was a mushroom stew prepared with fresh morels, cepes, and chanterelles. Along with that dish, I enjoyed an entire bottle of 1953 Chateau Lafite Rothschild. Wine lovers can blindly tell you the vintage and vineyard from one sip of a particular sample. As a fan of Cabernet Sauvignon, I have memories of some of the great American wines, such as Beaulieu and Heitz. I remember the 1953 bottle because it was my first experience with a perfectly aged great vintage. It was Technicolor. Today's grape juice was Technicolor. I could taste the life, and the few minutes that I spent juicing the fruit and cleaning the machine were well worth the time and effort. ****************** Thursday, March 16 Today is the 131st day of my hunger strike. A visit to the National Corn Growers Association website immediately reveals their sponsor, DU PONT. In 1998, Monsanto conducted $8.6 billion worth of business and was the third largest chemical company in america. Dow Chemical grosses $17 billion, while DUPONT was #1 with a volume $30 billion. DUPONT also owns the largest seed company in the world, Pioneer Hy-Bred. Last year, corn growers had nowhere to sell their surplus corn, and much of it sat rotting on Mississippi River freighters, unable to be stored in overflowing warehouses. Last summer, corn farmers were receiving $1.87 for a bushel of corn while the costs of growing a bushel were $3.25. The NCGA site reveals that half of all corn grown in America becomes animal feed. Here is one very fascinating bit of food trivia that not only demonstrates the lack of nutrition in America's breakfast cereals but it demonstrates who is getting the money and who is not. I learned that a one-pound box of corn flakes, selling for $3.55 in the supermarket, contains a mere $.02 of corn. Recently, Cornell University scientists demonstrated that Monarch butterflies, eating the pollen from genetically engineered corn, were dying. Senator Barbara Boxer has introduced Senate Bill S 2080 that would require the labeling of food products containing genetically modified organisms. Congressman Dennis Kucinich has introduced a similar bill, HR-3377, in the House. I believe that people have a right to know what they are eating, particularly when real science has proven that there is much to be concerned about regarding genetically engineered foods. Here is the position of the National Corn Growers Association: "NCGA urges Congress to oppose efforts to mandate labeling of food or food products produced through biotechnology. We oppose the Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act." What this industry organization also opposes is a farmer's right to make a living. As we grow more food with less demand (Europe will not buy any of our genetically modified corn), we only hurt those people who this agency pretends to serve. **************** Friday, March 17 Today is the 132nd day of my hunger strike. In 1968 I was a high school junior watching students riot in the streets of Chicago during the Democratic National Convention. At that time, if you had mentioned Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) to your parents or any establishment type, that statement would have widened what became known as the "Generation Gap." One of the founding members of the SDS would later become one of seven American arrested and in a group of people collectively called the "Chicago 7." This man became known for many things including his marriage to another famous activist, Jane Fonda. Today, Tom Hayden is a California State senator. Senator Hayden has introduced two bills in the California legislature having to do with genetic engineering. SB 1315 has to do with the labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms. SB 1514 requires that schools notify parents and children if they intend to serve foods containing genetically engineered organisms. Senator Hayden wrote: "The Legislature finds and declares that members of the public have the right to know whether the food they or their children consume, is produced with genetically engineered material. In particular, parents of school children have a right to know whether the food provided in school snacks, breakfast, and lunch programs, or after school programs, contains genetically engineered material. It is the intent of the Legislature to provide parents of public school children with the right to know whether genetically altered food is being served in public schools and to require school districts to disclose that information as a condition of receiving state reimbursement of funds for school meals." ****************** Saturday, March 18 Today is the 133rd day of my hunger strike. Ninety years ago, the greatest infield ever to play the game had poems written about them, immortalizing Tinker (SS) to Evers (2B) to Chance (1B). In 1910, the Chicago Cubs finished in first place. Although the famous double play combination only combined for a total of three home runs (Sammy Sosa's production on a good day), the 1990's home run hit by Pete Hardin may very well be biotechnology's game winner. Pete Hardin is the editor of the Milkweed, a Wisconsin pro-dairy publication. Hardin rallied his readers to collectively reject Monsanto's genetically engineered bovine growth hormone during the early 1990s. This courageous journalist used his newsletter to publish confidential internal Monsanto documents. Hardin obtained those documents in a remarkable way. They were first given to America's most noted anti-biotechnology activist, Jeremy Rifkin, by a Monsanto employee. Rifkin threw the ball over to author John Stauber who quickly turned and fired the documents to Pete Hardin who was "playing first base." Tinker to Evers to Chance. Rifkin to Stauber to Hardin. Many documents were published by the Milkweed exposing Monsanto's lies and deceptions. In September of 1993, Pete Hardin published an internal company confidential report revealing that the manufacturing process for the genetically engineered bovine growth hormone was seriously flawed. The memo referred to a serious contamination affecting 1,650 pounds (750 kilograms) of genetically engineered bovine growth hormone powder. Hardin wrote: "Monsanto acknowledges that during the first quarter of 1993, a huge amount of rbGH manufactured by a supplier was contaminated. This revelation is very, very significant. It has been widely projected that biotechnology production was like making Jell-O, i.e., pretty foolproof, once the routine was established. Biotechnology rests upon the premise that laboratory batches of synthetic products can be consistently manufactured. A huge batch contamination of Monsanto's rbGH, as acknowledged here, shows that in fact quality control can go awry, big time, in rbGH manufacture. This revelation is one of the most damning that has ever come from Monsanto." This internal document was circulated just a few months before Monsanto received approval for their bovine growth hormone. The question that I have is: Did Monsanto tell the FDA that their manufacturing process was producing errors? The last time I filed a Freedom of Information Act request, it took the FDA 85 days to give me an answer despite the fact that the Justice Department mandates a 20-day turnaround for such requests. This time, we trust that the FDA will act responsibly and give us an answer in a timely manner. On Friday, I submitted a new Freedom of Information Act request that will reveal the answer to the question of whether Monsanto informed the FDA about this manufacturing error. **************** Sunday, March 19 Today is the 134th day of my hunger strike. This past week, I spoke to Gary Barton, Monsanto's official spokesman for the bovine growth hormone. I asked him to comment on the fact that Monsanto created five "freak" amino acids during the manufacturing process of the bovine growth hormone, and never revealed those errors to the Food & Drug Administration. I told Barton that my Freedom of Information Act request revealed absolutely no communication between Monsanto and FDA. I also revealed to Barton that Monsanto changed the formula and, on the day after they received official approval, sent the "smoking gun evidence, the missing glove evidence, and the blood trail" to a scientific journal. I asked Barton for his comments. He made me repeat it three times. Here is Monsanto's official position: "Monsanto, in the process of obtaining regulatory approval for bovine somatotropin, has supplied complete and accurate data to the FDA and other regulatory agencies." With Monsanto's quote, we return to square one. Either Monsanto is lying or the FDA is lying. The Freedom of Information Act request (file #F99-26306) revealed that "A thorough search of CVM's files has been conducted, and no records responsive to your request have been found." I received a bill for $725 from the FDA for the processing of that request. Their analysis of their files was thoroughly conducted. This past week, I also spoke to Linda Suydam, Senior Associate Commissioner of the Food & Drug Administration. In that conversation, I requested a private audience with FDA Commissioner Jane Henney, M.D. Linda Suydam has been the second most powerful at the FDA for the last three commissioners-David Kessler, Michael Freidman, and Current Commissioner, Jane Henney. I like her and she has a reputation for maintaining the highest amount of professionalism and integrity. On April 21, 1995, Dr. Suydam had arranged a meeting for me with Monsanto's top scientists at FDA's investigative branch, the Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM). Dr. Suydam informed me that she and the Commissioner were well aware of the progress of my petition and of the investigation. She told me that a decision would be made by April 20, 2000. I asked Dr. Suydam if I could quote her on that date and her response was "Yes, you can." The clock is running and America awaits FDA's decision. It will take great courage for FDA to do the right thing. America expects nothing less. **************** Monday, March 20 Today is the 135th day of my hunger strike. More comedy from FDA. Below are three letters. The first one, written March 7 to FDA Commissioner Henney, praised FDA and condemned Monsanto. The second, a response from FDA, took exception to my letter, and, in fact, took my attack personally. Read the third letter and then ask yourself this question: When I attack Monsanto, do I really attack FDA, and are they really taking this personally? ------------ TO FDA (1) March 7, 2000 Commissioner Jane Henney Delivered by fax: (301) 443-3100 Food & Drug Administration Parklawn 5600 Fishers Lane Rockville, MD 20857 RE: FOIA Request No. 99026306 / Citizen Petition 99P-4613 Dear Commissioner Henney: Thank you so much for your letter dated March 6, 2000. This is exciting news! As you know, the information I requested was either going to be very bad news for FDA or Monsanto. The good news for FDA is that you did not lie, none of your officials lied and no one at FDA deceived America. The bad news is that Monsanto changed the formula for their drug without telling anybody. In the world of political and scientific decisions, I am very pleased that FDA now has the evidence of Monsanto's fraud. The unfortunate thing is that Monsanto has enormous power and your predecessors, Michael Freidman and Arthur Hull Hayes have left FDA to go to work for Monsanto. You may be aware that I had been chosen to be a member of the 10-person delegation to the CODEX meeting in Tokyo. On today's date, I was informed by Bob Lake that I have been removed from that committee. Monsanto's lobbying efforts have gained an ear with Mr. Lake and the official United States' position is contrary to the wishes of Americans and the rest of the world. Now that you are armed with evidence of Monsanto's deception, I await your official decision with great anticipation. Very truly yours, Robert Cohen ------------ From FDA (2) Mr. Robert Cohen Dairy Education Board 325 Sylvan Avenue Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey 07632 Request No. 99026306/Citizen Petition 99P-4613 Dear Mr. Cohen: Thank you for your letter of March 7, 2000 to FDA Commissioner Henney regarding FOIA Request No. 99026306/Citizen Petition 99P-4613. The Commissioner has asked me to respond for her. I must take exception to the suggestion that FDA officials would lie to you or that they would act in any way to deceive America. This characterization is simply unrepresentative of FDA employees. The people who work at FDA are most conscientious and diligent in their work of protecting the public health. I know I must speak for the Commissioner and every employee at FDA in refuting your insinuation that FDA employees would lie to the public we serve. I can say that we have your CP 99P-4613 under consideration. We will be responding to your concerns. Thank you for stating your concern. Sincerely yours, Stephen F. Sundlof, D.V.M., Ph.D. Director, Center for Veterinary Medicine ------------ TO FDA (3) March 17, 2000 Stephen F. Sundlof, D.V.M., Ph.D. Delivered by fax: (301) 594-1830 Director, Center for Veterinary Medicine HFV1 7500 Standish Pl. Rockville, MD 20855 RE: Citizen Petition 99P-4613 Dear Dr. Sundlof: I am in receipt of your letter dated March 14, 2000. In response to my letter to Commissioner Henney dated March 7, 2000, you wrote: "I must take exception to the suggestion that FDA officials would lie to you or that they would act in any way to deceive America." In fact, I wrote: "... the information I requested was either going to be very bad news for FDA or Monsanto. The good news for FDA is that you did not lie, none of your officials lied and no one at FDA deceived America…I am very pleased that FDA now has the evidence of Monsanto's fraud." You might recall in your letter of January 23, 1995, to Frederich-Wilhelm Graefe zu Baringdorf, the Vice President of the Agricultural Committee of the European Parliament. You wrote: "... I must take issue with your claim that "more and more scientific evidence" is raising questions about the safety of rbST, and with your apparent implication that FDA approved rbST prematurely. I can assure you that FDA's human food safety experts have been diligent and thorough in their review of all aspects of the human food safety of milk from cows receiving supplemental rbST" When I met with FDA scientists on April 21, 1995, I learned that the most important study (Richard, Odaglia and Deslex) submitted by Monsanto was never reviewed. Page 2 (To FDA letter 3) Stephen F. Sundlof CVM March 17, 2000 Subsequent to my meeting, FDA learned that their major conclusion (no biological effects from oral ingestion of rbGH) was incorrect. In 1996, I helped prepare research for 60 Minutes' producer, Isadore Roesmarin for a segment on aspartame. A few months earlier, I had met with Michael Freidman and had given him a study that FDA called "pivotal". In that study, every single rhesus monkey orally ingesting Monsanto's NutraSweet developed grand mal epileptic seizures. I watched at home as Freidman told a 60 Minutes reporter that there was never evidence of adverse effects on laboratory animals from aspartame ingestion. Freidman later became the acting Commissioner at FDA and then went to work for Monsanto. I am comforted by your representation that FDA employees do not lie or deceive America. I have met you, Commissioner Jane Henney and Andy Beaulieu at CVM and trust that every person that I recently met is trying to do the right thing and be entirely consistent with their fiduciary role. A review of my petition (CP 99P-4613) will reveal no gray issues, just black and white. Monsanto changed the formula for the bovine growth hormone after the review was completed and neglected to inform FDA that five "freak" amino acids were produced. The American people will accept nothing less than an immediate recall of Monsanto's genetically engineered bovine growth hormone. In addition, Monsanto should be severely disciplined for their unprecedented fraud so that other developers of genetically modified organisms are not tempted to repeat similar deceits. Very truly yours, ***************** Tuesday, March 21 Today is the 136th day of my hunger strike. I am sending today's diary entry to this list of people at FDA: FDA Commissioner Lester M. Crawford fax #301-443-3100 FDA Senior Associate Commissioner Linda Suydam fax#301-443-3100 CVM Director Stephen Sundlof fax #301-594-1830 CVM Deputy Director Andrew Beaulieu fax #301-594-1830 Office of the Inspector General Kathryn Dahl #202-401-0502 CVM Ombudsman Marcia Larkins fax #594-4512 Director of New Animal Drug Evaluation Claire Lathers fax #301-594-2297 Strategic Manager for Biotechnology, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Jim Maryanski fax #202-401-2893 Director of the Office of Surveillance and Compliance Linda Tollefson fax #301-594-4512 Congressman Dennis Kucinich fax #202-225-5745 ************************* Dear Commissioner: There comes a time in a decision-making process when the consequences of that decision should be carefully considered. Once a decision is made, it becomes too late for change. The decision that your agency must make on April 20 will have great meaning, and the eyes of the world are firmly focused upon you. Monsanto clearly deceived the Food & Drug Administration during the approval process for their genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rbGH). Monsanto: - Created five "freak" amino acids - Did not inform the FDA of their errors - Fixed the problem by changing the formula - Created a 750 kg. phage contamination of rbGH in September of 1993 - Waited until after approval to publish evidence of their deception It is well accepted that a breast cancer can take up to ten years to grow from one cell into a one million-cell tumor, representing the tiniest lump a woman can feel in her breast. Recently, the New York Times revealed that there is a 50% increase ("explosion") in breast cancers in the African-American community. When cows are injected with rbGH: - Levels of IGF-I in milk increase - IGF-I has been called a key factor in the growth of every breast cancer - IGF-I is identical in humans and cows - Nations with the highest rates of breast cancer are also nations with the highest rates of milk consumption - Milk drinkers experience a 10% increase in blood serum levels of IGF-I Your choices are clear, and the consequences of your actions will be unmistakable. Should you dismiss Monsanto's deception then FDA clearly erases the fine line that many still believe separates FDA and Monsanto. Such a decision will not be tolerated by the American people, and will serve to act as a symbol of Monsanto's power and FDA's inability to act as America's fiduciary. Should FDA act to impose sanctions upon Monsanto and immediately revoke rbGH from America's marketplace, FDA will also immediately become a hero to those Americans who have criticized conflicts of interest, but who wish to confirm and celebrate America's greatness. The choice is yours to make, but let me respectfully alert you that the consequences of your actions will be enormous. Very truly yours, ******************* Wednesday, 22 March Today is the 137th day of my hunger strike. During World War II, American pilots were able to be relieved from flying dangerous missions by having a military psychiatrist declare them to be "insane." However, any pilot who demonstrated a desire not to fly suicide missions had to, logically, be sane. That became the "Catch-22" made famous by Joseph Heller's novel and subsequent movie. CIGARETTE SMOKING AND CANCER The Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act grants the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate, "drugs" and "devices." In 1996, the FDA asserted jurisdiction to regulate tobacco products, concluding that nicotine is a "drug" and cigarettes are "devices" that deliver nicotine to the body. The FDA found that tobacco use is the Nations leading cause of premature death, resulting in more than 400,000 deaths annually, and that most adult smokers begin when they are minors. A group of tobacco manufacturers, retailers, and advertisers filed suit challenging the FDA’s regulations. Yesterday, the Supreme Court applied "Catch-22" logic to the cigarette controversy and concluded that cigarette smoking could not be dangerous because FDA would have taken them off the market if they were unsafe. Faced with a dilemma of overwhelming scientific proof that cigarette smoking is linked to cancer, the Supreme Court concluded: "... if tobacco products were "devices" under the FDCA, the FDA would be required to remove them from the market." Since FDA has not removed dangerous cancer-causing cigarettes, the Court concluded that they must be safe. In yesterday's ruling, the Court ruled that FDA no longer has jurisdiction over cigarette regulatory decisions. Justice O’Connor delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Rehnquist, Scalia, Kennedy, and Monsanto's Clarence Thomas joined. One day, similar logic may rule that genetically engineered accidents are nobody's fault and they are safe because nobody has jurisdiction. Is anybody piloting this plane? ****************** Thursday, 23 March Today is the 138th day of my hunger strike. I subscribe to many dairy industry magazines and newsletters and am on speaking terms with a number of dairy farmers. I also subscribe to Internet chat groups, and recent information has been a bit disturbing. If a human child is born with a birth defect because of a drug that his mother took, the first surprise report of an adverse effect is deemed "anecdotal." Initial reports from dairy farmers are also anecdotal. They reflect previously unforeseen effects from the use of Monsanto's genetically engineered bovine growth hormone, rbST. One farmer has given me permission to print his name and address along with his letter. The second farmer called me "the devil," and asked that I withhold his name and address when including his comments. Both letters contradict FDA's determination that cow's were unaffected after rbST injections. Two letters do not make a scientific study, but they are certainly enough to indicate that a monitoring program would appropriately be applied to the increased suffering of dairy cows from rbST injections. LETTER #1 "The beef buyer that I send my beef to, told me that the quality of beef cows on BST is no where near as good as beef cows that are not on BST. He has been buying beef for 38 years and has no ax to grind with BST users. It is an opinion from someone that ought to know and I believe him. Lyle Edwards dairy farmer Westfield Vt." LETTER #2 "I recently was told by an acquaintance with some experience in slaughter houses, that many BST cull cows have such weak bones that you could break their pelvic bones with your hands. Funny how that calcium for the extra milk has to come from somewhere... NAME AND ADDRESS WITHHELD" **************** Friday, March 24 Today is the 139th day of my hunger strike. HealthGate, an Internet magazine, has just grabbed the bull by the horns. Author Linda Formichelli recently interviewed me for her milk story and wrote the following: "Another vocal dairy detractor is Robert Cohen, author of Milk: The Deadly Poison. In his book, Cohen attributes the growth of certain cancers to insulin-like growth factor, or IGF1. "IGF1 is the key factor in the growth and proliferation of every single breast cancer that has ever grown in any woman," says Cohen. Cohen asserts that autopsies of people who have died from reasons other than cancer show that cancer is very common. "Between the ages of 40 and 50, 39.6% of women actually have breast cancer," he says. Normally, these cancers are controlled by the immune system, but Cohen says that IGF1 releases the tight genetic controls of the immune system, allowing the cancer to grow. He backs his assertion with the fact that the countries with the highest dairy intake also have the highest incidences of breast cancer. Cohen also puts the blame on milk for asthma, attention deficit disorder, heart disease, mood swings, obesity and more-not to mention problems caused by the genetically engineered bovine growth hormone rBGH, which stimulates milk production in cows." For the entire story: (broken link) ****************** Saturday, March 25 Today is the 140th day of my hunger strike. This week I was fortunate enough to have Howard Lyman as my houseguest. Those of you who know Howard appreciate this leader of America's vegan movement. His book "Mad Cowboy" is one of the best I have ever read, and it was a gift to be able to share my home with him and "think tank" our way into the 21st century. Last Saturday night, Howard and I drove to Kingston, New York where we each spoke to the Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society. All I can say is that having each other as mutual captive audiences for a four-hour trip is an unforgettable experience. Howard and I each took turn tying up my family telephone line with newspaper, magazine, and radio interviews. Some people say that the presidents and vice-presidents of major corporations should not travel on the same plane. Well, here were the two of us, myself and the "Chairmen of the Board" sharing the same home, and I wondered if our bitterest enemies would have fantasized about "killing two birds with one stone." During the week, I spoke in Newark, New Jersey and Middletown, New York, and did a few cable television shows. I am also continuing conversations with a reporter representing America's largest newspaper chain. Yesterday, I flew to Texas where I spoke to the Vegetarian Society of El Paso. Today, friends are treating my daughter and me to a sightseeing tour of Mexico's Ciudad Juarez. This evening, I'll be attending a potluck dinner in El Paso, and Jennifer will be designated eater. Our family loves Tex-Mex food and it doesn't get any better than this. I'll stick with the juice from the mescal plant. A shot of tequila, some lime...hold the worm. **************** Sunday, March 26 FDA ALERT: FDA TO HOLD SPECIAL HEARING Today is the 141st day of my hunger strike. The FDA is holding a public meeting on April 4, 2000 from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM at the Department of Education, Barnard Auditorium (Federal Building 6), 400 Maryland Ave SW, Washington, D.C. This building is one block east of the L'Enfant Metro Station (Maryland Ave. exit). FDA is seeking public comment supplements. To speak at the meeting, call Carole A. Williams at 301-827-4421. WHO WILL ATTEND THE MEETING? Manufacturers of pharmaceuticals who seek to have you lose the right to take supplements. Insiders who lobby congress and FDA to take away your rights. The FDA has only given a one-week notice to apply to attend to this meeting, which is unusually short. It's obvious the FDA would like to assure themselves that the public has no interest in this area. Come to the meeting and register to testify. Bring a friend. Write your statement and read it into the public record. **************** Monday, March 27 Today is the 142nd day of my hunger strike. Lots of people don't like me. I am included in the top ten list of many people's Year 2000 dead pool. Death threats? I get plenty! (I have so many enemies, even Inspector Gadget would have trouble compiling a complete list of suspects and would never find the missing glove) TOP TEN REASONS WHY NO COMPANY WILL SELL ME LIFE INSURANCE! 10) I insult dairy producers: Ten million dairy people hate my guts... they call me the Salman Rushdie of the state of Wisconsin. A dairy farmer with an IQ of 85 (most dairymen look up to him as Dr. Einstein) is stalking me, intending to bury me in his North 40. 9) I insult the establishment: I write a daily column insulting government bureaucrats at the FDA (Fraud and Deceit Administration) and USDA (United States Department of Abominations. I called Donna Shalala ugly (Secretary of HHS -- Health and Human Sadism) because she posed for a milk mustache ad. 8) I insult America's most-connected company: I refer to Monsanto ($27 billion pharmaceutical company) as Monsatan. They make dioxins, PCB, Agent Orange... Fact is, they are really saving America. If not for them, we would bankrupt our social security system and pensions funds. America cannot afford to have the average citizen live until age 90. 7) I insult the largest lobbying group in America, the AMA: I disrespect the AMA (American Malpractice Association) because doctors rarely take classes in nutrition, and an increase in America's health would mean a decrease in their cash flow. Dr. C. Everett Koop worked as a lobbyist for Monsanto. 6) I offend African-Americans: I refer to Clarence Thomas as a white man with black skin; the Supreme Court justice was once Monsanto's lawyer. I insult Spike Lee because he wears a milk mustache (got $20,000 to pay for his Knick seats for that ad) and 95% of African-Americans are lactose intolerant. He's clueless, as are Patrick Ewing, Dennis Rodman, the Williams sisters, Naomi Campbell, and, may she rest in peace, Flo Jo. 5) I offend Democrats and Republicans: I have exposed members of Congress and the Senate for the crooks that they are, selling out to private industry by exchanging their votes for dollars, which they legitimize by calling those bribes PAC donations. 4) I offend women: I call women clueless. On one hand, the fairer sex is terrified of breast cancer, yet refuse to accept the fact that a milk hormone, IGF-I, has been called the key factor in the growth of breast and uterine cancer. They buy into dairy industry brainwashing ads, afraid that their bones will break if they do not drink milk. Despite the fact that the nations with the highest rates of milk consumption (Denmark, Holland, Norway, and Sweden) also have the highest rates of bone disease and breast cancer, woman still think that they look beautiful wearing a milk mustache. 3) I insult the Fourth Estate: Laws were passed to terrorize the media. It is against the law to criticize an agricultural product in 13 states. Magazines, newspapers, television and radio all derive millions of dollars from dairy industry funding. America's media refuses to bite the hand that feeds it. 2) The Catholic Church is beginning to take note of me: Cardinal Biffi of Bologna (yes, I looked it up and this story is true) said that the antichrist is alive and he is a vegetarian (I am), a charismatic leader who charms his enemies (I have many in the dairy industry who I am friends with), is an activist ("I Love Trouble"), and is an animal rights advocate (I'm forming a new organization called AnimalSave). Many people wrote to me and wanted to know if the Archbishop was referring to me. The non-leather shoe fits my soul. Cardinal Biffi claims that the antichrist-veggie uses the New Testament to further his agenda. That being said, I usually cite HEBREWS 5:13. (ASIDE TO CARDINAL BEEF FROM BALONEY: You can look that up in your Funk & Wagnall's!) AND THE NUMBER ONE REASON WHY MY DAYS ARE NUMBERED, AND NO INSURANCE COMPANY WILL SELL ME A POLICY: (Yes---this is my final answer...) 1) I insult President Clinton by insulting Monica: During the impeachment hearings, I suggested that Lewinsky's photo be printed on a t-shirt, wearing a milk mustache, captioned: NOTMILK! My photo is available for dartboards, lining birdcages, and dairy barn floors. ***************** Tuesday, March 28 Today is the 143rd day of my hunger strike. The View From Above What a beautiful country this is from the air. Rivers and mountains border patchwork quilts. Each piece of the mosaic represents innumerable acres of farmland. Dark green rye grass returns much-needed nitrogen to the soil while light green shades of grass and weeds temporarily take over before spring's planting. Shades of amber and brown contain silage from last autumn's harvest or freshly plowed fields... or land that is dormant and dead from modern day agricultural methods that take from the earth and give nothing back. Last fall, Americans protested in the streets of Seattle and Oakland, Chicago and Washington, unhappy with a rulemaking process by which they innocently stand by as victims, observers to a loss of innocence and dignity. The World Trade Organization seeks to make the rules and, in doing so defines who rules. CODEX determines those regulations for the safety of genetically engineered organisms. The Food and Drug Administration determines the policy for CODEX, which in turn makes the rules by which all of the world's nations may one day become unified. Trickle down politics. Multinational corporations exert influence, and the people are betrayed. The rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are just words on an aging piece of paper in an archived building in a city that is controlled by dollars and not values. Should it not be the inalienable right of every American to know what he or she is eating? Should concerned consumers be given a choice as to whether or not the foods they purchase contain genetically altered organisms? Japanese food buyers control our non-genetically engineered soybean crop. They buy all of the goodness, and their rejects become food for Americans. European food processors refuse and renounce America's genetically engineered corn and wheat. America's farmers are subsidized by American taxpayers because their patchwork quilts representing America's food supply cost more to grow than processors are willing to pay. Enormous grain surpluses require unique solutions. America's solution is to grow even more grain... or pay farmers not to grow grain, and at the same time, genetically engineer seeds that provide greater yields and fill America's storage silos and grain warehouses. We became guests of Dr. Jim Gibson and his wife, Joan, sleeping in their El Paso home. Freshly made juices from locally grown citrus were in their refrigerator. I was invited to Texas by the El Paso Vegetarian Society and spoke before an enthusiastic group of vegetarians. Many non-members attended the dinner and talk, people who were exploring possible changes in their diet. On Saturday, Jennifer and I went to Juarez, Mexico, for a day of turista-like sightseeing and shopping. Mexico became the first user of Monsanto's genetically engineered bovine growth hormone, approved with little or no regulatory oversight by Mexico's non-regulatory drug agency. Drug dealers take over Juarez at night, and Americans are warned to observe extreme caution when visiting this city of two million. Across the Rio Grande is El Paso, a city of nearly one million. I had the opportunity to do two television interviews, and have been invited back to do the morning show by the host of El Paso's number one-rated station. I challenged her to invite any ten of the dairy industry's best scientists, farmers, and marketing people to a debate, and she loves the idea. Two fast-paced exciting days and we return home. It all looks so beautiful and simple from a plane 31,000 feet in the sky. The seeds will soon be planted in those tiny fields below. Farmers must make their choices soon, and agricultural lobbyists are making them offers that are hard to refuse. Will tillers of the soil take chances by purchasing genetically engineered seeds and, in doing so plant the seeds to their destruction? Biotechnology's subsidies dangle like genetically engineered carrots. Pressures. To buy Monsanto's seeds or not to buy... that is the question. Seeds that represent a destruction of values. Seeds that represent lower prices. Seeds that represent the creation of different organisms. Seeds that represent Monarch butterflies that will be no more. ******************* Wednesday, March 29 Today is the 144th day of my hunger strike. What will they think of next? Yesterday's little boys with chemistry sets have matured into twenty-first century researchers with sophisticated tools. As children, they mixed red liquids with blues to produce colorless solutions. Many who survived their random investigations grew up to become Monsanto, Dow, and Du Pont scientists. Their unique solutions might evolve into bizarre problems. During the past decade, a blink of an eye in mankind's chronological past, scientists have deciphered the secrets of nature's genetic code and have engineered drugs and technologies that will forever change the foods we eat. Throughout history, emerging technologies have provided unanticipated surprises. A swimmer does not jump or dive into a stream, unless he is first aware of the depth. Broken legs and necks often become rewards for those leaping into the unknown. Researchers have previously combined genetic material from flounder and trout into potatoes and tomatoes. Scientists have combined E-coli bacteria with bovine growth hormones and have implanted human genes into pigs and cows. Cows in test herds now produce human breast milk and pigs grow human organs for transplant. Will the next generation of infants moo and might future organ recipient's oink their disapproval? Six rabbits brought to Australia in the 1880's have become 100 million tundra-stripping bunnies. Mollusks from the Far East clog intake valves of California water treatment plants. A virulent weed, kudzu, grows wild and uncontrolled throughout the southeastern United States and each year the prolific invader crosses highways and forests as it germinates across America. Billions of dollars have already been spent to limit the uncontrollable spread of alien species. Genetic engineering represents the leading edge of sci-fi nightmares. Pollens from canola plants, bred to endure pesticides, have been carried by the wind in the basket-like rear appendages of bees legs, and have passed that very powerful resistance into superweeds. There will be more surprises. Foods and seeds produced as a result of the new biotechnology have been proven different than the products they replaced, contradicting pre-conceived notions of substantial equivalence. Regulatory agencies do not require testing or labeling of food products containing genetically altered organisms, and have downplayed the significance of such errors. Monarch butterflies eating pollen from genetically engineered corn have died, and rats treated with the bovine growth hormone developed cancers. The Food and Drug Administration does not require manufacturers to label foods containing a genetically modified organism (GMO), and defends those manufacturers who produced past errors. Will there be future errors? Narratives of the past have taught man that history repeats itself. I am an animal rights advocate and hold most life precious. However, when a creature continuously attacks my family, with bad intentions, I draw the line. The one creature I hate above all others is the flying hypodermic syringe known as the mosquito. This creature sucks blood with one tube and injects its often-contaminated platelet melting venom with another. The bumps that rise on my skin and the subsequent discomfort leaves little empathy in my heart for the creatures who have been known to spread malaria, Nile fever, encephalitis, and various plagues. What will be the result when mosquitoes, bees, wind, gnats, ticks, mice, rats, and other carriers of man's bacteria, viruses, and genetically modified errors run, swim, or fly rampant through our environment? Top Ten Biotechnology Errors I Don't Wish To Witness 10) Mosquitoes injecting virus, bacteria, hormones, etc. from one genetically engineered species into an innocent human victim. 9) Immunities to Monsanto's (last) Roundup passed on to superweeds as they have done this year on Canadian farms. 8) Blood-sucking ticks filled with prions from genetically engineered cows making their way from Monsanto's Missouri fields to my garden state of New Jersey. 7) Blood sucking, money grubbing senators and congressmen soliciting millions of dollars in PAC money from biotech firms seeking legislation that will not require mandatory labeling of foods containing GMOs. 6) A laboratory animal containing a genetically engineered weapon of warfare, escaping its lab or being liberated by idealistic members of the Animal Liberation Front or PETA. 5) A deranged Monsanto scientist (as opposed to the sane ones who are cognizant of terrifying secrets and their consequences) intentionally releasing a genetically coded message into the environment. 4) Terrorists or terrorist nations using biological weapons as a means to achieving their end (and our end). 3) Monsanto getting a second one of their King & Spalding attorneys appointed to the Supreme Court, like they did with Clarence Thomas, and having an important to be decided biotechnology case reach that court. 2) Monsanto's King & Spalding attorney, Michael Taylor, becoming a member of the Cabinet of the president elected in November of 2000. 1) A secret laboratory cloning and genetically engineering thousands of humans with the same brain and behavioral characteristics of Monsanto president, Robert Shapiro. Heaven forbid! ****************** Thursday, March 30 Today is the 145th day of my hunger strike. Dear Mr. Shapiro: It is my duty to inform you, that on this twenty-eighth day of March in the year 2000, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is revoking the use of Monsanto's genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rbGH), also known as Posilac. This directive is effective immediately, and Monsanto is forthwith ordered to immediately cease manufacture of, marketing of, and distribution of rbGH. A citizen petition filed on November 7, 1999 (docket number 99P-4613) asserted that Monsanto changed Posilac's formula after FDA conducted its exhaustive NADA review. An analysis of that petition and subsequent review has confirmed that the petitioner's concerns were accurate and warranted. Simultaneous to the issuance of this order, FDA is imposing upon Monsanto a $250 million dollar fine, which shall be placed in escrow for dairy farmers who have experienced financial hardship or damage to their herds as a result of Posilac use. FDA is issuing an immediate recall of Posilac and will compensate dairymen for past, current, and future losses from that escrow fund. Furthermore, FDA has determined that Monsanto conceived of a plan in which, at the very least, severe conflicts of interest were created. As a result of Monsanto's influence, FDA did not conduct a fair and impartial analyses of the original applicant's research data. FDA's internal investigation places some, but not all of the blame upon current standard operating procedures, but our recent review also confirms that Monsanto withheld critically important research data from FDA. FDA's rigorous analyses of citizens petition 99P-4613 confirms that biotechnology and genetic engineering often produces "surprises," just as the petitioner has claimed. Monsanto created five "freak" amino acids, replacing lysine with epsilon-N-acetyllysine during the gene transcription process of rbGH. Publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals also indicate that a similar unexpected consequence of recombinant genetic engineering may have produced "freak" amino acids in glutamine as well. For that reason, FDA is issuing an immediate five-year moratorium on all genetically modified organisms, including medicines, seeds, and recombined agricultural products. Furthermore, those food substances that have received approval must contain a warning label, so that consumers are able to exercise their free choice on whether or not they wish to purchase foods containing genetically modified organisms. FDA is troubled by the fact that Monsanto was aware of numerous errors, and did not inform the agency. Monsanto learned of the errors two years before, and created a new procedure to filter out those "freak" amino acids, and withheld that critically important information from the agency. FDA is disturbed by the fact that after all research data were reviewed, Monsanto changed the formula for Posilac, and in doing so, became the first pharmaceutical company in FDA's history to alter a drug's formula and not notify the agency. It is our determination that if Posilac is to be re-approved, all of the research previously submitted to FDA (containing the "freak" amino acids) must be performed anew and re-submitted. In order to insure that similar errors do not reoccur, FDA will be developing a new set of inter-agency protocols and standard operating procedures. Let this unprecedented fine be a warning to Monsanto and other chemical and pharmaceutical companies that future deceptions will not be tolerated. FDA takes seriously its mission of being the American public's regulatory agency, and, as fiduciary, we place the health and safety of all Americans as our number-one priority. Very truly yours, Jane Henney, MD FDA Commissioner This letter will be sent to the media on April 1st as a press release-parody. This April Fool's joke has been a nightmare for America, and this imaginary letter by Robert Cohen represents his greatest fantasy and the right thing for FDA to do. In all probability, New York City has a greater chance of experiencing a 20" snowstorm than does this letter have of being written by the FDA commissioner. **************** Friday, March 31 Today is the 146th day of my hunger strike. Penn State University is host to an annual Solidarity Conference, and I am excited to be the keynote speaker at the free vegan Indian dinner on Friday night. The conference is a testimony to the passions of many students who seek to make their world a better place to live. The organizers of the conference are Robyn Stephens ( and Jessica Watson ( The opening talk on Friday afternoon will be given by Morgan Leyh, and the subject is "The Beef Industry-The Real Story." Dozens of lectures and workshops concerning the roots of current social problems and ways to make a difference will fill the weekend. How and why to start a boycott support committee? Attend the lecture at 9 AM in HUB Auditorium. Issues of racism and sexism in activism - same place at 2:30 PM. Saturday night's keynote speaker is Manning Marable, and the subject is "Making Democracy in America: Solidarity, Activism, and the Pursuit of Social Justice." On Sunday morning, there are workshops on the mass media, on non-violence training and conflict resolution, and on ecology. I am looking forward to attending the "Tips for Successful Activism" workshop. At 3:45 PM, I have been assigned the task of lecturing and cooking the NOTMILK and NOTMEAT cuisine. The exciting weekend ends with a festival of multi-cultural expressions involving dance, song, poetry, and foods from around the world. If you wish to attend or have any questions, you can call Jessica Watson at 814-867-4761. Robert Cohen *************************************************************** Subscribe to the Egroup NOTMILK forum. Send Email to: