Testimony of Robert Cohen Regarding Genetically Engineered Frankenfoods & Organic Standards



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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 these products.
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 it.

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 research.

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 taking bribes.

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. Okay?

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 trade secret."

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 up?

MR. COHEN: I'm going to wrap it up very quickly.

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.