This immaculate note from the consistently correct Jim Diamond M.D
is exactly along the lines - esp the final sentence - propounded for the
past half-decade by my colleagues studying the Showa Denko EMS disaster.
Monsanto and other ag industry players and their apologists say
that GE foods have been extensively tested, found by the FDA to pose no
dangers to human health, and that years of use in the U.S.A. are an
additional proof of safety.
Against this claim, it's informative to note how many deaths piled up
before the painkiller Vioxx was taken off the market by Merck. To quote,
"Last year, the FDA belatedly faced up to research showing that the
painkiller Vioxx, which it approved in 1999, markedly increases the risk of
heart attacks and strokes. It has been estimated that more than 25,000
people died before Merck pulled the drug from the market in September."
An editorial in Nature comments on how inadequate post-marketing
surveillance is. Under the title, "Drug safety on trial" this leading
science journal starts off by saying:
" The current US system for checking the safety of drugs already on
the market is toothless. Why isn't the government doing more to strengthen
A revealing notice appeared last month in the Federal Register,
the US government compendium of agency rules and notices. The Food and
Drug Administration (FDA) was reporting on compliance by pharmaceutical
companies with its requests for studies of the clinical safety and efficacy
of drugs already on the market. Of nearly 1,200 such studies committed to
by drug firms but not completed, some 70% have yet to begin."
It goes on to say that, " . . . the FDA depends on companies for
post-market safety studies but has no legal authority to force firms to do
The full article (subscription required) is online at
434545a_fs.html or in print in the 31March05 issue. My point in quoting it
here is to ask: if relatively straightforward bad effects like heart
attacks and deaths in the tens of thousands occurring in people who are
currently taking the drugs in question can escape detection for many years,
then how likely is it that the system would find problems associated with
unlabeled genetically engineered products, especially if they are less
dramatic than heart attacks or take longer to become manifest?
Jim Diamond, M.D.
Sierra Club Genetic Engineering Committee