There is no question that the FDA has been designed as an instrument for good; without it, anyone out there could bottle anything they thought was acceptable as a "medicine." This used to be the case, in fact, in the 1800s. Back then the American population were experimental "mice" for the thousands of charlatans who claimed to have a cure for any disease out there. In most cases, what these self-declared healers sold was not only ineffective, it was often downright dangerous.
The FDA was created in order to hold such people responsible. To some extent, the original intent of the FDA worked out rather well. You can even say that, thanks to the FDA, many lives have been saved.
That's the good news. But you also need to hear the bad news.
There are many instances when it's clear that the FDA has sold out to those entities which essentially were offering the same useless, harmful products of charlatans from the 1800s. One thing many of these products have had in common is that they generally don't cause harm right away; in other words, they are all "safe" in the short run or when used in small quantities.
Other characteristics of these "magic" elixirs and supposedly beneficial concoctions is that they are usually
- cheap to produce (and therefore buy),
- have not been subjected to scrutinous scientific experimentation/studies,
- generally don't have immediate side-effects/reactions,
- sport unique characteristics (taste good, are pleasantly addictive, provide short-term solutions to a problem, etc.) and...
- hold the possibility to creating great profit for its makers.
Where does the dishonesty, corruption and apathy at the FDA come in, though?
Exhibit Number 1: How Aspartame Was Approved In Spite of its Blatant Toxicity
Few products out there have had as many complaints logged against it as aspartame has. A low-calorie artificial sweetener concocted in a lab by accident (as many of the magic elixirs of 1800s charlatans were), aspartame, simply put, has never been subjected to the food safety scrutiny given other substances approved by the FDA. If the FDA had simply come out and said that aspartame has not been outlawed because its toxicity (although highly suspected) has not been proven, that would have been easier to accept.
The dishonesty and apathy is glaringly clear, though, when the government and Big Food have the gall to come out and regularly (as well as loudly) tell the media and the public that aspartame is perfectly safe for human consumption. The question that should naturally follow is: "On what do you, the FDA--the agency responsible for overseeing the safety of foods and drugs pimped to Americans--base such a conclusion?"
The average American might be surprised to find out that they will either point at the lack of scientific evidence to condemn aspartame (rather then provide evidence to the contrary) or they simply allude to reports and studies provided by the same people (usually a member in good standing of Big Food) who profit from the product. In other words, the FDA doesn't seem to mind using as explanations/justifications what the rest of us would easily label a "conflict of interest."
When you look at the history of how/why aspartame was okayed by the FDA, you will see that the dishonesty, fraud and corruption go gar deeper than that. Actually, the FDA came close to banning aspartame but was prevented from doing so at the powerful insistence of Donald Rumsfeld--yes, the same secretary of defense many thought should have spent the rest of his life in jail for, among other things, war crimes, lying to Congress, and using his political office in order to profit financially.
But, wait, why just pick on Donald Rumsfeld? What he did, some would say, is common practice at the FDA. Too often, special interest groups and well-connected individuals compel the FDA to do things that are, at best, unethical.
Exhibit #2: Banning the Hoxsey Cure for Cancer but Happily Blessing GMOs
To this day, the FDA cannot come up with any scientific evidence backing their decision to ban Harry Hoxsey's cure for cancer. All they can say is that a group of cancer cartel experts didn't approve of the Hoxsey treatment for cancer (in spite of thousands of favorable testimonies to its efficacy and effectiveness); accordingly, they closed the Hoxsey clinics down, after most of the courts sided with Mr. Hoxsey.
Was the Hoxsey treatment a hoax? Because no clinical studies were used, we may never know. What we do know is that the Hoxsey plan (and any other treatment plan not endorsed by the cancer cartels--regardless of what it can do) was banned mostly (if not exclusively) based on politics and economics (in other words, Hoxsey had refused to sell his plan to the cartels).
Now take GMOs. In spite of the fact that many scientists question whether these Franken-products (for they have been genetically altered without long-term clinical safety studies to prove their efficacy) are necessary or safe for human consumption, the FDA has given them its full blessing. There is more scientific evidence against GMOs than there ever was against the Hoxsey treatment and, yet, the Hoxsey treatment was not acceptable to the FDA but GMOs, in spite of being banned in other countries, are okay for Americans to consume?
Even if you want to be open-minded about GMOs, you need to wonder why most (if not all) of the companies either pushing or creating GMOs (Monsanto, DuPont, Dow, Bayer, BASF, Syngenta, etc.) were or are involved in the production of chemicals designed to eradicate life (not prolong it). That's right, most of these companies have excelled at making fungicides, herbicides, pesticides, and other chemicals you would never want near foods.
Yet, these are the companies now working to increase/improve our food supply?
Exhibit #3: DBCP--What a Struggle It Was to Ban It--Only to Sell it Abroad
It was only after no-longer-ignorable scientific evidence was shoved into the FDA's throat that the agency at last agreed to ban the use of this pesticide (Dibromochloropropane) in the US. This dangerous chemical could inflict serious medical problems, including sterility. The FDA, in spite of banning in the US, though, saw no problem with it still being sold to American companies (DelMonte, Chiquita, Dole, etc.) processing and selling fruits and vegetables overseas.
So what if thousands of Latin American produce workers were permanently sterilized?
The FDA can be an instrument for good--actually, it was put together for expressly that purpose. Having said that, there are now simply too many instances of the agency being put up for sale to those with the right political connection, Big Food, Big Pharma, Big Meat, etc.
How can an agency that is supposed to monitor, supervise and oversee others do its job if the people who run it and work at it have become a bunch of for-sale (for lack of a more politically correct euphemism) "whores." It's whores who sell their "body" for a price.
Is everyone that works at the FDA a whore? One would hope that maybe there are some people at this agency who still know what honesty, integrity and ethical/moral responsibility are. These people, though, are either greatly outnumbered or they have retired or been transferred to other governmet agencies where they can't get into trouble for having a conscience.
If you are one of the many gullible Americans who still want to give the FDA the benefit of the doubt, just join the rest of us on the sidelines. There are plenty of tests coming up which the FDA can use to prove which side it's on (consumers or the profit-makers): should factory farms be allowed to continue to exist; can we force the much-needed improvement of processed foods; is "pink slime" okay as a meat product filler; is Big Food promoting auto-immune disorders with its rampant, irresponsible uses of growth hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides; etc.
The FDA can easily exonerate itself by doing the right thing in any of these major cases. You can be assured, though, that it won't; in the end, the monetary concerns of its corporate "Johns" will outweigh the interest of consumers--or so many health experts would posit.
Copyright, 2015. Fred Fletcher. All rights reserved