Testimony of Robert Cohen Regarding Genetically Engineered Frankenfoods & Organic Standards
"PUBLIC HEARING ON NATIONAL ORGANIC STANDARDS PROPOSED RULE"
(ORGANIC FOOD LABELING LAWS)
THURSDAY, MARCH 5, 1998
(the entire 638kb text transcript can be obtained from:
MR. JONES: Okay. Robert Chen. Robert.
MR. COHEN: Hi. Actually my name is
Robert Cohen. Somebody incorrectly transcribed the
name, much like they do when they genetically engineer
MR. COHEN: I drove two hours here today
to get my five minutes. Now I hear it's only three
minutes. So I'll try to be very brief.
I want to tell you why genetic engineering
doesn't work. In 1990, the FDA, in the greatest
controversy in their history, published an article in
a peer reviewed journal, the first time they ever did
that. They assigned two researchers, Juskovich and
Geyer (phonetic), to overview the bovine growth
hormone, and that review was filled with a tremendous
amount of fraud.
When Monsanto saw that laboratory animals
were getting cancer from this new genetically
engineered hormone -- and I'd like to cite a study for
the record. That study in which 300 laboratory
animals got cancer was authored by Richard O'Daglia
and Dezlex (phonetic). They worked for Serle, which
was a subsidiary of Monsanto, and they saw the animals
were getting cancer. They had to do something about
And what they did was Monsanto sent their
own attorney, Michael Taylor, who was hired by the FDA
to overview the entire procedure for the review, and
he wrote the laws that led to all of the rules
governing genetic engineering.
In addition, Monsanto got their own
scientists, Margaret Miller and Susan Sashan
(phonetic), hired by the FDA to review their own
After Michael Taylor finished at the FDA,
guess where he went to work. United States Department
of Agriculture. He became an Under Secretary just at
the time that Michael Espy had to resign in shame for
Congress. We had a committee, the House
Agriculture Committee, that had a subcommittee called
the Dairy, Livestock and Poultry Committee, and these
12 members of the committee stalled a bill that was
intended to label food containing genetically
engineered hormone. They stalled that bill in
committee until the 1994 session of Congress expired.
And when I investigated this matter, I
found that 11 of the 12 men took a combined total of
$711,000 in PAC money they call it. I call it bribes.
Four of the men took money directly from Monsanto.
The relationships between USDA, private
industry really trouble me. King & Spalding, a firm
in Washington, Clarence Thomas was Monsanto's
attorney. Bob Dole's chief of staff Donald Rumsfeld
was the president of Serle, a subsidiary of Monsanto.
The USDA and King & Spalding, this firm
that represents Monsanto, they have 17 attorneys on
the food arm of that agency that claim to have 40
years of combined experience working for USDA, working
for the government.
When we genetically engineered the first
hormone, and this is what this is all about today, we
created a gene transcription error. We created
something that had a freak amino acid. The FDA wrote
a paper, and in that paper they cited an
endocrinologist, Jerome Moore, who said that, well, if
there's a difference in an amino acid, it's the end of
the chain. No problem. God forbid it occurs at the
middle of a chain.
Well, June 1994, a Monsanto scientist,
Bernard Violind (phonetic) -- thank goodness for
scientists with big egos who have to publish -- he
published in a very obscure journal, the Journal of
Protein Science, that they created a freak amino acid,
not a different one, but a freak amino acid in the
number 144 position. They combined this hormone that
they inject into cows with bacteria, and they created
instead of lysine, epsilon and acetyl lysine, a freak.
They never told the FDA. This little
piece of information invalidates all of the research,
invalidates $500 million and ten years' worth of
research, but nobody knew the truth.
When they did do the genetically
engineered hormone, the data was right there in the
science magazine publication. The average spleen
increased in the laboratory animal 46 percent. The
FDA said there were no biological effects.
When I called them on it and I said, "Let
me see the raw data," they said, "Sorry. That's a
Filed a Freedom of Information Act
request; wouldn't release it. Filed a suit in federal
court. The animals can get cancer. I finally met
with FDA on April 21st, 1995, the only person in
America to be afforded a private meeting with their
scientists, and I said, "Spleen increased 46 percent.
Did you ever review the study?"
And that's when I learned that the most
important study was never reviewed. We've got a great
system in America, and I really believe in the system.
I believe in the USDA. I believe in FDA, but I
believe the playing field is not level. We create an
environment where we have nobody to review
independently this research because people leave the
FDA and they go to work for Monsanto.
Even C. Everett Koop became a lobbyist for
Monsanto and told the same lies. The lie they told
was that the new product genetically engineered is
exactly like the old product, and that was a lie even
in the abstract of that August 24th, 1990,
publication. The scientists that wrote the article
right in the abstract, after cows are treated with the
genetically engineered hormone levels of another
powerful growth hormone in milk increase. Okay?
MR. JONES: Can I get you to kind of wrap
MR. COHEN: I'm going to wrap it up very
PARTICIPANTS: More time, more time.
MR. JONES: Okay.
MR. COHEN: Well, these are specifics, and
this is the scientific research.
What I'm about to say represents the
greatest fraud in scientific history, in my opinion.
The FDA and the USDA, in order to prove to America
that the milk was safe to drink, what they did was
they said, "When we pasteurize the milk, we destroy
the bovine growth hormone. Don't worry. Trust us."
I looked at the actual research that was
performed by an undergraduate in Canada at Guelf
(phonetic), Ontario, Paul Grown and Wagen (phonetic).
I looked at the research.
First of all, the authors of that study
incorrectly cited somebody else. I would have failed
that paper in high school biology. Paul Grown and
Wagen's actual research demonstrates that he
pasteurized milk for 30 minutes at 162 degrees
Fahrenheit where the normal pasteurization protocol
calls for 15 seconds of that heat, not 30 minutes.
Even then he only destroyed 19 percent of the hormone,
and the Commissioner of the FDA, David Koestler, went
to Congress and testified that it was all destroyed.
At that moment they said to Monsanto, you
don't have to do further toxicology studies. You
don't have to develop a test for written milk. These
are the things that occurred, and I'm testifying on
the record. Put me in jail if I've told a lie. I
will take this litmus test against anybody living.
This was a fraud.
The same week that that science
publication occurred, the Journal of the American
Medical Association published an article written by
Michael Dalgaday (phonetic) and David Barbano
(phonetic), two independent doctors and scientists who
said that the milk is safe to drink. The hormone,
it's exactly the same.
I researched these two men. They both
work for Monsanto, and you can put me in jail if I'm
telling a lie. As a matter of fact, get the Journal
of the American Medical Association article. It's
right on the front page, but nobody repeated that
part. They called them independent doctors.
Bottom line is there's an enormous
conspiracy of ignorance here, and what I want to see
is that there's a fair shake. These genetically
engineered hormones, if we make one tiny, little
mistake, we've got serious, serious trouble.
That's what I have to say and to testify.
Thank you for listening.
MR. JONES: Thanks, Robert.