Monsanto’s Leading Soldier in the War on Raw Milk

Brandon Turbeville
Activist Post

In recent months there have been many articles dealing with the intensification of the war on milk launched by the FDA. (See here and here. Also here.) I myself, have written articles explaining the dangers of corporate control of the dairy industry and the specific health concerns related to the use of antibiotics and rBGH in the production of milk.

In my book, Codex Alimentarius – The End of Health Freedom, I detail these health problems as well as the events surrounding the FDA’s compliance with Monsanto’s wishes regarding the use of rBGH in dairy products. Of course, governmental compliance with corporate wishes is not surprising considering the fact that the ranks of the FDA are filled with former Monsanto employees and affiliates and that there exists a virtual revolving door between the agency and the corporation. Nevertheless, if one wishes to get an idea of the role Monsanto plays in the decisions regarding our food supply, Marie Monique-Robin’s documentary The World According to Monsanto is an excellent place to start. So is Jeffrey Smith’s book Seeds of Deception. The information is readily available to anyone who wishes to engage themselves in even basic cursory research.

Many of these resources will shed light on how we have come so far down the road of corporate control of the food supply and how small farmers and raw milk producers went from being the majority suppliers of dairy products to a persecuted minority who now face the threat of armed SWAT teams and FDA raids. We have come a long way in a short period of time and the speed by which corporate food fascism marches forward is increasing with every day.

It is true that people live and die, but organizations and their agendas continue on. It is also true that many who have walked through the revolving door between multinational corporations like Monsanto and the FDA are no longer with us, at least in the national spotlight. However, there are a few names that continue to appear in the headlines many years after the first attempts at forcing unhealthy and toxic milk products on the public were made.

Indeed, if the new FDA policy on dairy production can be considered a war on milk, then Michael R. Taylor can be considered a veteran. And a highly decorated one at that.

Michael Taylor actually began his career as a lawyer with the FDA in 1976. In 1981, he accepted a position in the law firm King and Spalding where one of his clients was Monsanto. It was discovered that, while he worked for King & Spalding, he drafted a memo regarding the Constitutionality of the state’s ability to create laws regulating the labeling of rBGH. The memo that Taylor had written was part of a much larger discussion by Monsanto and its attorneys as to whether or not the corporation could successfully sue those states and companies who labeled or allowed their products to be labeled as “rBGH-Free.” Taylor’s representation, along with the rest of his law firm, was indispensable to Monsanto and soon the corporation began suing dairies that labeled their products as free from genetically modified hormones.

In 1991, Taylor left King & Spalding (or should I say Monsanto) and returned to the FDA where he would “serve” as Deputy Commissioner of Policy. In this position Taylor oversaw and helped draft the FDA’s guidelines regarding the labeling of rBGH. Not surprisingly, Taylor’s office saw no difference between milk produced with rBGH and milk produced without it, and therefore concluded that there was no reason to include the use of rBGH on the label. As a result of the ensuing controversy, dairies all over the country began marketing the milk they produced without rBGH as “rBGH – Free,” and other similar statements. Thus, in 1994, Taylor drafted FDA guidelines that prevented dairies from labeling their milk as “rBGH – Free” without being accompanied by lengthy statements claiming that the FDA does not see any difference between the rBGH-produced milk and the rBGH-free milk.

Taylor is also known for his significant contributions to the literal support given to the multinational conglomerates that were pushing for approval of genetically modified organisms and other forms of biotechnology. Specifically, he was and still is an advocate for the Orwellian named “Green Revolution” in Africa. For those who are unaware, the Rockefeller Foundation funded Green Revolutions in Asia and Latin America with devastating results, particularly in India. The Rockefeller Foundation has now teamed up with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in an effort to unleash the same agricultural destruction in Africa.

Taylor is openly in favor of launching a Green Revolution in Africa. Indeed, he is quoted as saying, “I’m still frustrated over the fact that the Green Revolution we introduced into India in the 60’s, we haven’t yet introduced into Africa in 2009.”

In his paper, “American Patent Policy, Biotechnology, and African Agriculture: The Case for Policy Change, written in 2003, Taylor states, “The Green Revolution largely bypassed sub-Saharan Africa. African farmers often face difficult growing conditions, and better access to the basic Green Revolution tools of fertilizer, pesticides, improved seeds, and irrigation certainly can play an important role in improving their productivity.”

When Taylor says, “improved seeds,” he means “genetically modified seeds.” When he says “pesticides” and “fertilizer” he means products manufactured by large agribusiness corporations. Agribusiness corporations like Monsanto. Taylor fails to mention that Monsanto stands to make astronomical profits from the introduction of GM seeds in Africa as the corporation owns an estimated 90 percent of the global GM seed market.

Nevertheless, after his mission was accomplished at the FDA, Taylor left the agency once again. He returned to Monsanto, this time directly, where he became the Vice President of Public Policy from 1998 to 2000. In 2010, Michael Taylor returned to the FDA for a third time when he was appointed by Barack Obama to the position of Deputy Commissioner for Foods.

Taylor has proven his worth to Monsanto yet again by his relentless attack against small, local, raw milk producers for erroneous “health concerns,” “contaminations,” or “public hazards. Indeed, it appears he has arrived at just the right time for Monsanto and other major food corporations as the FDA is currently embroiled in writing the regulations that will be used to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act (S.510) passed last year.

Anyone remember S.510? It was the bill that had natural health and organic food supporters up in arms several months back. It was the same bill that was touted by the government and the mainstream media as an improvement in food safety. And it was yet another bill that, if criticized, resulted in charges of “conspiracy theories” and paranoia directed at its detractors. Yet, one year on, we are now witnessing SWAT teams descend upon Amish farms for the crime of selling their milk to an individual (working for the federal government of course) who then carried that milk across state lines. Indeed, events are playing out much as the “conspiracy theorists” predicted.

Yet while one might consider SWAT teaming Amish people over raw milk to be a bit of bad press, Michael Taylor and the FDA see just the opposite. As reported by Carolyn Lockhead of the San Francisco Gate, Taylor considers his war on all that is natural and healthy to be a “public health duty” and a “statutory directive.”

As Lochead writes:

On July 3, the agency will issue its new rule to detain any food it believes is unsafe, or, more critically, “mislabeled.” . . . . . 

Before the new law, the FDA could only impound food when it had credible evidence the food was contaminated or posed a public health hazard. The detention powers are part of what Taylor described as a new agency focus on preventing food poisoning outbreaks rather than responding to them after the fact. Taylor described the new law as giving the agency “farm to table” control over food safety. 

Taylor outlined an aggressive approach, saying he would seek a “high rate of compliance” with new food safety rules, touted the agency’s “whole new inspection and compliance tool kit,” including access to farm records, mandatory recall authority, and enforcement actions that can be accomplished administratively, “without having to go to court.” He said the agency can now also revoke a farm’s mandatory registration (also a new requirement under the law), meaning the FDA can put any farm it finds in violation of any food safety rule out of business.

Because farmers have no recourse through access to federal courts as a result of S.510 (another “conspiracy theory” proven to be fact), the FDA is now allowed to act with total impunity. The fact that humans have a basic God-given right to eat the food of their choice does not apply here. Neither does the fact that humans have been eating small farm food and drinking raw milk for virtually all of recorded history.

In fact, not only is the American tradition of self-sustainability wrecked under this law, but so is the Constitutional right granted to every American for a redress of grievances and access to the court system. However, since corporations have been granted the status of individuals in the United States, it is likely that they (but not small farmers) might find some legal loophole in the future to avoid the fascist dictates of the FDA. That is, if they ever have to in the first place.

But don’t worry about the loopholes. With Michael Taylor in charge of food safety, the odds of that happening are few and far between.

Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Mullins, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Francis Marion University where he earned the Pee Dee Electric Scholar’s Award as an undergraduate. He has had numerous articles published dealing with a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, and civil liberties. He also the author of Codex Alimentarius – The End of Health Freedom  and 7 Real Conspiracies.

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