Originally published May 17 2014
FDA eliminates advisory committee responsible for peer-reviewing its approval of GM animals
by Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
(NaturalNews) The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has scrapped yet another layer of checks and balances from its decision-making process that will make it even easier for genetically modified (GM) animals to gain regulatory approval. Food & Water Watch reports that the FDA recently made the arbitrary decision to eliminate its Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee (VMAC) after members of the committee objected to the agency's aggressive promotion of GM salmon, which has never been shown to be safe.
VMAC, which had been responsible for peer-reviewing the integrity of the FDA's safety and risk assessments for GM animals, previously determined that there was not enough safety data to back the approval of AquAdvantage, a GM salmon product manufactured by AquaBounty Technologies. Despite multiple reassurances by the FDA that AquAdvantage was safe, VMAC reiterated that legitimate science to prove this claim was unfounded, and called on the agency to rethink its position.
Rather than follow this advice, the FDA instead decided to disband VMAC, claiming that keeping the committee afloat was too costly. This excuse was later proven to be false, however, as VMAC spent a total of $0.00 during fiscal year 2013, and not much else in years prior. Congresswoman Louis Slaughter of New York was brave enough to call out the agency for this blatant lie, to which the same inane excuse was given.
"Food & Water Watch filed a records request to find out just how costly the committee is," wrote Tim Schwab, an FWW food researcher. "Turns out, it's not. The agency spent $0 in 2013 maintaining the committee, including all administrative and labor costs."
Reform or disband: the only two options for dealing with rogue FDA Put simply, the FDA is further concealing its abuse of authority by stamping out an independent advisory board that actually reviews the agency's decisions in light of sound science. By disbanding VMAC, the FDA will have a much easier time approving abominations like AquAdvantage that do not stand up to scientific scrutiny, eliminating what little transparency still exists at the rogue agency.
"[T]he loss of the advisory committee represents the loss of critical measure of transparency and an essential peer-review that FDA clearly and desperately needs," added Schwab. "It also means that FDA may soon start springing new regulatory approvals on the public with limited opportunity for public input or scrutiny."
Efforts to reform the FDA have been numerous and growing, but so far not much has changed. The agency has only continued to accumulate more power while simultaneously mowing over all resistance to its corporate agendas. And the American public is paying the price, as its systems of agriculture and food supply are continually reinvented to reflect the interests of biotechnology, chemical and drug companies.
"The FDA cannot fulfill its mission because its scientific base... is weak," states a government-issued risk assessment report published back in 2007, which you can access here:
If the FDA cannot be effectively reformed to represent and support the interests of the people rather than corporations, then it needs to be disbanded. FDA-approved drugs, after all, continue to kill tens of thousands of Americans every year while the agency spends tens of millions of dollars targeting producers of raw milk, for instance. To be sure, a lack of funding is not why the FDA is failing to do its job -- it is where the agency is directing its funding that demonstrates its betrayal of the American people.
"What is needed is not incremental reform but complete reform, a thorough overhaul of every part of the FDA," said the Alliance for Natural Health USA, which is petitioning for fundamental changes at the FDA:
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