As evidenced by the recent headlines about food recalls, the FDA is in dire shape and these ingredients have never been proven safe which is why governments around the world have not allowed them into their food supply. Health data presents a compelling reason to adopt the precautious approach: according to the American Cancer Society, the United States has the highest rates of cancer of any country in the world. Because the FDA is inadequately funded and not funded to conduct independent studies, it is forced it to rely on industry-funded studies.
What did you discover in your research that connected “Big Money to Big Food”?
That some of our most trusted names in pediatric research not only serve on the speakers bureaus of some of the largest corporations in the world, but that these trusted doctors have also invented patented proteins for agrichemical and pharmaceutical corporations. As I write in Chapter 7 of The Unhealthy Truth, these corporate ties seemed to highlight the flaws in our system: dedicated scientists are often employed by corporations who have a financial stake in the outcome of their research. As a result, it’s hard for the public to know how to view the scientific information we’re given, since so much of the funding comes from companies with a built-in incentive to support research that will help their bottom line and profitability.
For example, according to an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, one of the most trusted names in the world of pediatric allergy, has reported receiving consulting fees from Unilever, Wyeth and Monsanto; receiving a grant and holding stock options and related patents with SEER (formerly Panacea); and receiving grants from the Peanut Board, the National Peanut Foundation and Monsanto and is also on the speakers bureau for EpiPen/Dey.
It would be extremely beneficial for all American families to have full disclosure and transparency into these funding ties, royalty structures and revenue streams so that we can make an informed choice, based on transparency and full disclosure, when weighing the opinions of these experts and this industry funded science.
What’s your take on the documentary Food, Inc., and Monsanto’s response to it?
I am profoundly grateful for all who are working to inform our nation of 300 million eaters of the recent changes in our food supply and the role that Food, Inc. has played in broadening awareness and expanding the discussion around our food system. As a former financial analyst, I am not at all surprised by Monsanto’s response and the marketing investment that they have made in defending their patented technology, their products and in turn their share price, as it is their fiduciary obligation to their shareholders to do exactly that.
What do you think is the most effective way to get some of these foreign proteins and GMOs out of our food supply?
Fortunately, on a personal level, there is a lot that we can do to reduce our families’ exposure to these ingredients and to feed our children the same food that children in developed countries like France, Australia and the UK are eating. Recognizing that corn and soy are two of the largest genetically engineered crops in our country, simply reducing your families’ exposure to corn and soy-based ingredients can go a long way, since recommending organic soy and organic corn (which by law is not allowed to contain these genetically engineered proteins) is not a viable option to many. In voting with your fork, you are sending a message to both the food industry and the agrichemical industry that you would rather not choose their products for your family. And since Kraft, Coca Cola and Wal-Mart have been amazing in responding to the concerns of citizens overseas and voluntarily removed certain synthetic ingredients from the products that they sell overseas, together we can urge them to respond to our concerns here in the U.S. and offer their newly reformulated products in our grocery stores, too.