QWhy is ex Monsanto executive Michael Taylor the head of the FDA??? Can you say conflict of interest?

Why is ex Monsanto executive Michael Taylor the head of the FDA??? Can you say conflict of interest?

AExpert Answer

You are likely referring to Michael R. Taylor, a lawyer who is currently deputy commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration for Foods and Veterinary Medicine. Taylor has spent most of his career of more than 35 years as a public official or college professor, and spent about 16 months working for Monsanto, a biotechnology company.

 

Opponents of biotechnology often raise the fact that some former EPA, FDA and USDA employees have gone to work for biotech companies, and some company employees have left to take jobs in the public sector. It is important to note that agricultural biotechnology is a specialized field that requires knowledge in science, risk assessment and public policy, and both the public and private sectors benefit when employers have access to the most competent and experienced people.

 

Furthermore, the Obama Administration has issued a policy statement making it clear that political appointees are not to interfere in scientific research.  The policy states:

 

“The overriding intent of this policy is that political appointees must not exert undue influence over scientists in the conduct of scientific research. Recognizing that the nature of the scientific inquiry includes formulating and exploring questions, it is to be expected that scientists may have different perspectives and develop multiple approaches in their research. The existence of disputes in research is not inconsistent with scientific integrity or with a policy that political appointees must not exercise undue influence over scientific inquiry.”

 

As a former federal regulator, I was honored to serve with individuals from the private sector, who brought to their positions not only the expertise needed to make regulatory decisions based on the actual risk presented, using the best scientific information available, but also a moral center that never confused their duties in their regulatory positions with their roles in jobs they previously held.

Posted on January 31, 2018
Thank you for your question. There are various aspects of your question. I assume your question refers to the use of Agrobacterium rhizogenes by scientists to intentionally transfer genes from the bacterium to plants. Infection and DNA transfer from this bacterium occurs in nature all the time to cause disease. Such transformed plants are not classified as GMOs since transfer occurred naturally. If this is done by scientists then it would be classified as a GMO. Rules and... Read More
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Posted on March 1, 2018
I’m a Monsanto scientist who has more than 20 years of experience with genetic modification of plants. I will try to answer your question, even though I don’t ever do experiments on animals, certainly not on humans, of course! Can humans be genetically modified…but a much bigger question is should humans be genetically modified? There are two ways to think about genetic modification of humans (or any animal). One way is modification of somatic cells, and the other is the... Read More
Answer:
Posted on May 10, 2017
The simple answer is that 20+ years of composition assessments of GMO crops have demonstrated that crop composition is not appreciably affected by the GM process (1). In addition, data collected through that time have indicated that general factors such as the growth environment can contribute to notable variation in component levels (2). Plant agglutinins (or lectins) and amylase inhibitors are examples of anti-nutritional compounds that may be present in crops. The relevance of such a... Read More