Michael R. Taylor, the former Vice President for Public Policy at Monsanto has returned through Washington's revolving doors and will now advise FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg on food safety.
We learn of this discouraging connection on the same day the White House announced its new commitment to upgrading the country's food safety system.
Much hope had been held out for a change in FDA perspective due to Commissioner Hamburg's lack of industry ties. Her career has consisted of public health research and policy positions. Prior to her appointment as FDA commissioner, she worked as the New York City health commissioner. Unfortunately, it appears that with the addition of Taylor, the FDA has remedied that problem.
It seems Taylor is just the man you'd want on the job, if you're concerned about unwanted industry regulation and corporate representation of toxic hormones in your dairy. But, examining bad industry practices that lead to salmonella and E. coli tainted foods? Not so sure about that.
According to a release Tuesday on the agency's website, Taylor will now serve as senior advisor to the FDA head. In the announcement, Hamburg, said of Taylor:
"I am pleased to welcome Mike Taylor back to the FDA," Commissioner of Food and Drugs Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., said in announcing Taylor's appointment. "His expertise and leadership on food safety issues will help the agency to develop and implement the prevention based strategy we need to ensure the safety of the food we eat."
Taylor's "long and distinguished career" is noted therein without mention of his 7 years of work as an attorney for Monsanto, the giant agricultural biotech corporation.
A few months ago, I posted a story here on The Huffington Post highlighting the insidious way rBGH (the bovine growth hormone) made it into our country's food supply, with the help of Michael R. Taylor. I wrote about the dangerous effects of the addition of rBGH to our dairy supply:
In humans, studies indicate milk from cows treated with rBGH may contain elevated levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IFG-1), which can increase the risk of breast cancer and other types of cancer.
Here is a portion of what I detailed about Taylor's connections in that story:
"An excerpt from a 1998 article in The Ecologist magazine details Taylor's journey and its significance:
"In March 1994, Taylor was publicly exposed as a former lawyer for the Monsanto corporation for seven years. While working for Monsanto, Taylor had prepared a memo for the company as to whether or not it would be constitutional for states to erect labeling laws concerning rBGH dairy products. In other words. Taylor helped Monsanto figure out whether or not the corporation could sue states or companies that wanted to tell the public that their products were free of Monsanto's drug."
So, just what will Taylor's duties be?
As Senior Advisor to the FDA Commissioner, he will be expected to:
* Assess current food program challenges and opportunities
* Identify capacity needs and regulatory priorities
* Develop plans for allocating fiscal year 2010 resources
* Develop the FDA's budget request for fiscal year 2011
* Plan implementation of new food safety legislation.