Landmark lawsuit against the FDA
As executive director of the Alliance for Bio-Integrity, Steven Druker is
the co-ordinating attorney in a landmark lawsuit against the FDA calling for
the withdrawal of all genetically engineered foods in the USA until they
have gone through adequate safety tests, and the subsequent labelling of all
GE foods. The lawsuit has been filed by an unprecedented coalition of public
interest organisations, eminent life scientists, and seventeen mainstream
religious leaders. The International Center for Technology Assessment, which
is supporting the lawsuit, says the quality and breadth of the 26 plaintiffs
is without precedent in their long experience of such cases of litigation.
The plaintiffs are using official US government papers to show how the FDA
claimed GMOs were safe in the face of broad disagreement from its own
experts. The FDA was required to provide over 40,000 pages of internal
documents during the lawsuit. For example, when the FDA approved the "flavr
savr" tomato, which has also been sold in British supermarkets, it did so
ignoring statements from its own scientists that tests involving feeding the
tomato to rats led to a pattern of stomach lesions that raised a safety
issue and therefore failed to confirm that it was safe for human
consumption. Safety testing of subsequent GMOs has been even less stringent
and in many cases non-existent.
"Every genetically engineered food in the US is on the market illegally and
should be recalled immediately for rigorous safety testing," Mr Druker says.
"The FDA has deliberately unleashed a host of potentially harmful foods onto
American dinner tables, in blatant violation of US law, in order to promote
the interests of the biotech industry. Based on systematic
misrepresentation, the US set improper standards for the release of GMOs.
Britain and many other countries have largely followed the US, without
knowledge of the facts."
Warning to British Government
Mr Druker is in the UK to present his case to the Government and to
agricultural leaders. At the end of last week he gave a special presentation
to MPs at the House of Commons, at the invitation of Alan Simpson, MP, and
also had a private meeting with Michael Meacher, Minister of State for the
He was joined for the presentations by Professor Terje Traavik, scientific
advisor to the Norwegian government and one of the worldīs leading experts
in viruses and horizontal gene transfer. Prof. Traavik warned the British
Government that the recombinant DNA technologies used to develop all of the
GMOs on the market today are so imprecise and unpredictable that they do not
even deserve to be called a technology.
He said that recent research indicates that artificial genetic material
released into the environment through agricultural, medical and industrial
applications can be incorporated into the genetic material of the cells of
all species, including our own. This process, called horizontal gene
transfer, is already known to create new viruses and bacteria that cause
diseases and to lead to harmful mutations, cancers, and acute toxic shock
and autoimmune responses.
[link to www.heartland.org
Drukerīs Anti-Biotech Themes
Druker argues the following points:
1. Genetic engineering is inherently riskier than traditional breeding.
2. Transplanted genes act independently of the host organismīs intricate control system.
3. Foreign genes enter the host DNA haphazardly and disrupt the region into which they enter.
4. There is mounting evidence of genetically engineered (GE) plants with substantial and unexpected alterations in chemical composition.
5. There have been suspicious changes in laboratory animals that consume GE foods.
6. GE foods contain unique hazards.
7. The government has allowed GE foods to be marketed without testing.
8. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) falsely claims expert consensus regarding the safety of GE foods.
9. A large portion of human foodborne illness develops over a long time through repeated doses of harmful substances.