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Damian writes: "Azevedo has since left the chemical industry and now calls for the enforcement of GE labeling laws."

Former Monsanto employee airs concerns. (photo: rawsangha.com)
Former Monsanto employee airs concerns. (photo: rawsangha.com)



Former Monsanto Employee Exposes Fraud

By Sarah Damian, Food Integrity Campaign

14 July 12

 

his week the Food Nation Radio Network interviewed former Monsanto employee Kirk Azevedo about his concerns with the leading biotech company's practices, a timely interview as the battle over genetically engineered (GE) food regulation continues on a state, national, and international scale.

Azevedo graduated with a biochemistry degree from California Polytechnic State University and started working for the chemical industry doing research on Bt (or Bacillus thuringiensis) pesticides. Around 1996, he became a local market manager for Monsanto, serving as a facilitator for GE crops for the western states. He explained to Food Nation Radio how he had assumed that California cotton that was genetically engineered for herbicide resistance could be marketed as conventional California cotton (to get the California premium) since the only difference between the two, he believed, was the gene Monsanto wanted in the crop. However, one of Monsanto's Ph.D. researchers informed Azevedo that "there's actually other proteins that are being produced, not just the one we want, as a byproduct of genetic engineering process." This concerned Azevedo, who had also been studying protein diseases (including prion diseases such as mad cow disease) and knew proteins could be toxic. When he told his colleague they needed to destroy the seeds from the GE crop so that they aren't fed to cattle, the other researcher said that Monsanto isn't going to stop doing what it's been doing everywhere else.

Azevedo recalls his disillusionment:

I saw what was really the fraud associated with genetic engineering: My impression, and I think most people's impression with genetically engineered foods and crops and other things is that it's just like putting one gene in there and that one gene is expressed. If that was the case, well then that's not so bad. But in reality, the process of genetic engineering changes the cell in such a way that it's unknown what the effects are going to be.

Azevedo has since left the chemical industry and now calls for the enforcement of GE labeling laws. In California, such a law will appear on voter ballots in the upcoming November election as Proposition 37 – the first of its kind, if passed (although no labels would be required for livestock that feed on GE crops). Supporters of GE labeling predict the California rule, which would require labels on most foods containing GE ingredients, could influence food labeling throughout the country.

Not so great news on the national front, however. The U.S. House agriculture committee passed its version of the proposed Farm Bill this week that includes attached provisions severely weakening USDA's oversight of GE crops. Not only does the bill provide backdoor approval for any new GE crop before meaningful environmental review, but it also protects the biotech industry from lawsuits brought by organic farmers whose crops are contaminated by GE crops through "genetic drift." According to the Center for Food Safety, "all requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act or Endangered Species Act would be banned, even if a crop approval would harm protected species."

If that isn't unsettling enough, news that the European Union is proposing to drop its "zero-tolerance" policy regarding untested GE ingredients in food really takes the cake. This would be a significant change from its usual reputation of far surpassing the United States in holding industry accountable:

The new proposal would allow GM ingredients into the food supply in levels below a certain threshold. This echoes a decision made last year to allow GM crops to be used in animal feed below certain concentration levels. Why this recent "change of heart"? Opponents of GM crops note that the dropping of the zero-tolerance policy is due to pressure from the U.S. government, the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the biotech industry (arguably led by Monsanto).

Perhaps it's not too much of a surprise, given the evidence of Washington's aggressive promotion of GE crops abroad and even threats of retaliation against dissenting countries. Even so, Azevedo's words of caution regarding the unknown health effects of Monsanto's and other biotech companies' creations make these deregulatory efforts very disconcerting. Our government representatives should be heeding Azevedo and biotech whistleblowers who put public and environmental health before Big Ag interests.

Sarah Damian is New Media Associate for the Government Accountability Project, the nation's leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization.

 

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+65 # AMLLLLL 2012-07-14 10:57
We've got to kill this provision in the Senate! Please write your Senators and urge them to reject this !! And thank you Sarah for the heads up.
 
 
-21 # John Locke 2012-07-14 13:08
AMLLLLL: Do you think there is really a chance to kill this bill, they will kill us before this bill, and Obama is behind it! He is on Monsanto's payroll!
 
 
+47 # paulrevere 2012-07-14 14:17
I've accepted my grain of sand 'voice in the cacophony' role, so I sign 'em...enough voices gets pretty loud, enough sand blowin' in the wind gets in their eyes.

The more issues these degenerates in Congress pass against the wishes of WETHEPEOPLE, the more obvious their sell-out distain and greater the tide of social angst against them.

You can only push anyone or anything so hard and so far and then either the pusher becomes exhausted or that anyone or anything digs in with resistence...th e resistance mode is at hand and in play.
 
 
+16 # mginia 2012-07-14 14:38
Quoting John Locke:
AMLLLLL: Do you think there is really a chance to kill this bill, they will kill us before this bill, and Obama is behind it! He is on Monsanto's payroll!

Dear Mr. Locke, I thought you died three hundred years ago. Welcome back, I guess. Perhaps your ability to return from the grave allows you to make strange statements about, for example, the President being on Monsanto's payroll. Perhaps this is okay in Paradise, or wherever you wound up, but in 2012 on Earth, we require facts to support statements like this.
 
 
+31 # John Locke 2012-07-14 17:44
mginia: I came back as you need me!

Ok some facts: Michael R. Taylor was an assistant to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner before he left to work for a law firm on gaining FDA approval of Monsanto’s artificial growth hormone in the 1980s. Taylor then became deputy commissioner of the FDA from 1991 to 1994. Taylor was later re-appointed to the FDA in August 2009 by President Barack Obama.
Dr. Michael A. Friedman was a deputy commissioner of the FDA before he was hired as a senior vice president of Monsanto.
Linda J. Fisher was an assistant administrator at the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) before she was a vice president at Monsanto from 1995 to 2000. In 2001, Fisher became the deputy administrator of the EPA.
Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was chairman and chief executive officer of G. D. Searle & Co., which Monsanto purchased in 1985. Rumsfeld personally made at least $12 million USD from the transaction.
Former Monsanto lobbyist Michael R. Taylor was appointed as a senior adviser to the Food and Drug Administration (United States) Commissioner on food safety on 7 July 2009.
and USDA Tom Vilsack who is a former Monsanto lawyer himself, was appointed by Pres. Barack Obama.

is this enough facts about the revolving door the amount that Monsanto has contributed to Obama has not yet been released!
But stay tuned!
 
 
+18 # Michael_K 2012-07-14 18:40
Quoting mginia:
Quoting John Locke:
AMLLLLL: Do you think there is really a chance to kill this bill, they will kill us before this bill, and Obama is behind it! He is on Monsanto's payroll!

Dear Mr. Locke, I thought you died three hundred years ago. Welcome back, I guess. Perhaps your ability to return from the grave allows you to make strange statements about, for example, the President being on Monsanto's payroll. Perhaps this is okay in Paradise, or wherever you wound up, but in 2012 on Earth, we require facts to support statements like this.


Hello, mginia, allow me to educate you.. You see the article above these comments? Read it carefully. Read what the FDA is doing under the Obama Administration. . Read about who has been appointed to the FDA by Obama, read about how Obama's State Department is trying to twist arms all over the world for countries to accept American poison as food.

Now, it's possible that all this is due to Obama actually sincerely believing that Monsanto is providing wonderful and healthy agricultural technology for the planet, but if that's what you're saying, that's tantamount to saying that Obama is a cretinous imbecile.

Personally, I don't believe he's a cretinous imbecile, far from it. I believe he's an evil, murderously ambitious politician unencumbered with a conscience who is taking Monsanto's money to buy electioneering TV ads.
 
 
+29 # acermay 2012-07-14 21:56
As much as you may not like to hear the truth about President Obama's deep involvement with Monsanto and other agri-giants, please go do your research.

Find out who appoints the heads of the USDA and the FDA (and more). The President does, but don't believe me, go do your own research!!

I voted for Obama too. I wanted change. Instead I have been appalled. Not only as a farmer but as an American voter.

As a farmer, the trickle down (from up high in the USDA) is all about limiting family farms and their ability to make livings. And promoting agri-giants and Biotech companies like Monsanto.

WAKE UP.... Obama is not your champion. He is "their" champion.

It's sad. It's distressing. It's the truth.

No matter how much Michelle wants to voice "healthy foods for the masses" it is actually all about the opposite.

Please.
Wake.
Up.

Here's a little article from 2008 when Vilsack came into the USDA, thanks to Obama.

http://www.examiner.com/article/gov-tom-vilsack-appointed-agriculture-secretary
 
 
+11 # John Locke 2012-07-14 17:45
Hummm so you don't believe there is an Obama Monsanto connection, he just hires their executives by chance?
 
 
+7 # KittatinyHawk 2012-07-14 22:20
Why do you bother texting in on this You can eat all the crap you want the Rest of us have the right to fight
 
 
+4 # Inland Jim 2012-07-15 12:48
The Senate doesn't have to kill the bill, just the provsion. Ever take a civics class?
 
 
+63 # Barbara K 2012-07-14 11:01
We all need to contact our Senators and tell them to stop this Farm Bill. It is a disaster waiting to happen. There are many people already made ill by these poisons, and I am one. We need to find a way to stop this, and I thank the former employee, Mr. Azeveedo, for coming forward and helping us. They are feeding us poisons in our food supply. When did this become okay to do to us? The Rs are so greedy that they don't care that it makes us sick, they get paid to pass legislation that makes it possible for Monsanto to make us, and the world's people sick. Hope they become victims themselves. Get these greedy morons out of our government before they do any more harm to us.
 
 
+25 # mdhome 2012-07-14 13:54
Well, their children and grandchildren will be eating the same stuff as we all are, so maybe the roosters will come home to roost in their backyard. I wonder how much harm will be done before the hazards are known.
 
 
+16 # Barbara K 2012-07-14 20:20
mdhome: I hope you are right. But, they are soulless that I wonder if they would even care about their kids and grandchildren. It is pretty discouraging to see how low the GOP has become. They sold their souls to the devils who don't care who they harm. But I have to keep reminding me that the "Devil gets his dues" and he's got a lot coming from the Greedy Bastards.
 
 
+55 # Guy 2012-07-14 11:08
When are people going to wake up?Monsanto and biotech orgs.are taking over the food industry without knowing the long term effects on our health.This is absolutely sickening .
 
 
+15 # KittatinyHawk 2012-07-14 22:28
Been going on for years Sorry all of you are so late to know the name Monsanto but we have been warning people of them since 1990...and Nam Vets since the 70's
I was very amazed that Agent Orange Chemicals that were to be gotten rid of along with most of the Pesticides we sent off to third world countries are back in force But that happened in ReaGun, Bush Sr thru Clinton to OB So there is not one Party at Fault here.
I am just sickened that Gates, Oprah and other Phonies aren't up in Arms that Africa is being very well lied to in order to Feed the World
All of you should see what food you are eating that supports this Start with GM Food Products.
Then look at Corporate Farms, buying Organic Union, Organic Farms to get their chemicals into Organic Foods.
Bon Apetit.
 
 
+6 # 8myveggies 2012-07-15 11:25
"Been going on for years Sorry all of you are so late to know the name Monsanto but we have been warning people of them since 1990...and Nam Vets since the 70's"

How does overstating WETHEPEOPLE's level of ignorance and being ubersmug help the cause exactly?
 
 
+54 # anntares 2012-07-14 11:18
Finally I understand why GMO may be dangerous to health, thanks to this article. I also never knew about certain types of proteins and diseases until yesterday when I heard scientists may have discovered a certain type of protein associated with AIDS. That may have nothing to do with GMO, but shows it's important not to play with proteins if we don't know enough about where they go, what they do.
 
 
+20 # humactdoc 2012-07-14 12:00
I agree this article gets at the heart, I believe, of potential or demonstrated destructive consequences of the genetic alteration. U.S. industries take advantage of the lax chemical testing on products used directly and indirectly by consumers. Then once a pattern of adverse effects has been recognize the industries argue that other exposures caused their product related bad outcomes. Once a substance or method of production gets the initial OK from regulators, there's no stopping their use.
 
 
+35 # bluepilgrim 2012-07-14 12:10
I suppose people hear "protein" and think of it as food, but it's a class of chemicals, basically a hydrocarbon with some nitrogen (H, O, C, & N, with interesting shapes and folds. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protein

Many are extremely potent toxins or venoms -- Botulinum toxin is protein, as is the venom of the inland taipan, world's most poisonous snake, and mad cow toxin.

Foreign proteins in the body can elicit anaphylactic shock and other nasty reactions.

"You see, Molly, everything is made of molecules".
(From an old TV commercial.)
 
 
-4 # Kootenay Coyote 2012-07-14 15:46
Not clear enough, given contemporary usage. Natural materials are Compounds, synthesized ones that do not occur naturally are Chemicals.
 
 
+10 # paulrevere 2012-07-14 14:29
If you want a quick look at gmo's and how they affect our bodies, here is a pretty good YouTube presentation and I encourage all to pass it around...the more folks that realize this insanity, the more obvious the insanity becomes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-IJikX1144&feature=player_embedded#!

and here is a pretty good 'expose it' site:

http://blog.friendseat.com/genetically-modified-crops-attack

and here is a nongmo shopping guide:

http://www.nongmoshoppingguide.com/
 
 
+9 # oakes721 2012-07-14 15:28
Ultrasound also breaks down cells at the protein level, yet no warnings are given.
 
 
0 # KittatinyHawk 2012-07-14 22:35
They have been for the past couple of years
 
 
+1 # jaseki 2012-07-15 12:02
Is there any evidence to suggest that the risk outweighs the benefit for U/S? That there is need for a warning? There's a big difference in the risk one gets from having an occasional ultrasound versus eating GMO food 3 times a day. Perspective needed...
 
 
+2 # KittatinyHawk 2012-07-14 22:34
They have been playing for over fifty years using our health, pretending to find cures to get your money.
Watch who you all donate to RSN is actually a better place than anyone promoting Research. There are cures just no one wanting to Cure us.
Heirloom Seeds are available, We can fight back. Recycle your Dirt yearly, Compost, use raise beds. If you live near Corporate Farms or industry there is ways to grow without it leeching into your soil. You can even use greenhouse type of arches to keep poisons airborne or thru rain. Search and you find we can win
But you must make Editors aware by writing, get Local Harvest, Local Farms, Natural Food Stores part of your lives.

We can thru Awareness, get this message to Europe and onward to Africa.

If you are going to write to someone get Oprah, Gates etc on your list.... Diane Sawyer wants Made in America Let us see if she wants us eating Monsanto
 
 
+1 # John Locke 2012-07-15 09:19
KittatinyHawk Diane Sawyer is part of the new world order group! She is a member of the counsel of foreign relations!
 
 
0 # X Dane 2012-07-16 00:10
great suggestion, Kittatinyhawk. Writing People with a conscience, to many in the media do not have any conscience left. They do not understand that they should help protect our citizens from big unscrupulous corporations. The life they could save might be someone they love or even their own!!
 
 
+43 # jwb110 2012-07-14 12:20
Chinese research has proven that the RNA, not the DNA, in GE products most definitely " slips " and metabolizes into the the human system. I wonder how many of the Monsanto execs eat their own products or feed them to their children?
 
 
+19 # ngc16 2012-07-14 13:26
I just read yesterday that they don't even serve it in their cafeteria because their employees wouldn't eat it if they did.
 
 
+2 # KittatinyHawk 2012-07-14 22:37
The employees probably brown bag it incase...I believe the Monsanto does serve it as their own case study It is sooo much cheaper
 
 
+4 # KittatinyHawk 2012-07-14 22:36
ASk Diane Sawyer, Oprah, Gates to start asking these questions
 
 
+15 # MainStreetMentor 2012-07-14 13:19
Yes ... readers of RSN must contact our elected representatives and Senators, but ...

We must also write letter to every local newspaper and television station - urging them to get behind an effort to "squelch" this bill before it becomes law. The politics behind it's threatening passage can be dealt with - but, right now the most immediate concern and need is to inform both our elected officials AND the general public. It is this corporate influence within the ranks of elected officialdom where the problem arises - but ... first things first.
 
 
+4 # Barbara K 2012-07-14 20:23
I've already signed some petitions to my Senators, as that is where the Bill goes now that the Reps have really screwed us with it. Cannot find many petitions to sign, hope to find more and soon. And I agree totally with you. We have our work cut out to stop this monstrosity.
 
 
+1 # KittatinyHawk 2012-07-14 22:39
Look up Food Organizations There is bus trip to DC on July 28 to ban Fracking. There is Union of Concerned Citizens, CEH,
Audubon, Sierra Club(I do not trust them) I will try to get list. Care2org has Petition On Line site.
 
 
+21 # cordleycoit 2012-07-14 13:38
Notice how corporate fascism works. Ever growing power grabs with the aid of it's owned insiders government operators(spies ,)then laws written by their in house Congress people. Then defanging the law and then then turning the law into a perverted and corrupt system of enforcement. This is what America has become, rotten.
 
 
+18 # Kathymoi 2012-07-14 14:01
Even more alarming to me than the health risks associated with genetically engineered food sources is the legal preference given by the government to the big corporation (Monsanto) over the interests of the public health, the health of our environment, the health of competition in the market place (isn't that what capitolism is supposed to be about, not monopolism) and diversity of seed types or crop types including natural seeds not patented and owned by Monsanto. The government has a partiality in protecting and promoting Monsanto's business interests that can not be explained by any ethical rationale.
 
 
+12 # KrazyFromPolitics 2012-07-14 18:33
The ongoing saga of Monsanto is sufficient evidence to justify the complete disbanding of Monsanto and the complete investigation and prosecution, where warranted, of top executives and scientists run amok...and then I awoke from my dream only to remember how corrupt our legal system, and government really are. I'm not hopeless, but angry about the disregard for the safety of my children and grandchildren.
 
 
+4 # isafakir 2012-07-15 00:05
I'm not hopeless, but angry about the disregard for the safety of my children and grandchildren. how can anyone not be hopeless where your government actively acts against you for the sake of substantive huge but very fleeting profit. this kind of branded monoculture can only fail. biology is far too unpredictable and complex.
 
 
+3 # jaseki 2012-07-15 12:03
And this is a big reason why I don't want to have kids - we are screwing our environment and food supply so badly (and for everyone else in the world too) I personally do feel somewhat hopeless that things are going to get a hell of a lot worse, and I care not to have my progeny suffer for the stupidity and greed of others.
 
 
+9 # isafakir 2012-07-15 00:01
they have no soul no conscience no mercy no moral sense of any kind ruthless : government by corporation for profit
 
 
+5 # Skyelav 2012-07-15 06:36
Someone said something about these guys' kids and grandkids...I remember the DDT issue back in the day and those farmers stood in the mist of the poison and asked, "Do you really think I would poison my own grandchildren?"
 
 
0 # jaseki 2012-07-15 12:09
I had a hobby farm for a number of years, and lived across from a huge dairy/corn farm. A younger farming couple with 5 little kids owned the place, and my partner at the time (who was a food scientist) noticed that they would be out there spraying RoundUp with no protection on, no gloves, no mask. In this day and age. I was shocked, esp. cuz they had little kids and lord knows the mom coulda gotten pregnant and exposed her fetus to this poison. Anyway, after a few years of living across from this farm, I developed food and environmental allergies, where I never had any before. I even had a severe attack or respiratory distress one night after they had sprayed their fields. I have never experienced anything like that before or since! And I do not have asthma or anything like that.
I met a lot of people who moved to this farming region from other areas who developed strange and severe adult-onset allergies, especially to foods, when they had never had allergies/sensi tivities previously. The combination of pollen, pesticides and pollution, perhaps? Needless to say, I don't live there anymore. And that was a family farming area, not even the superfarms you see in the U.S. Scary.
 
 
0 # X Dane 2012-07-16 00:25
jaseki, I am curious what the heck is a "hobby farm"?? Farming is not what I would do as a hobby. Stamp collecting, basic basket weaving maybe, farming?? no
 
 
+1 # ErnestineBass 2012-07-16 10:15
"Do you really think I would poison my own grandchildren?"
No, but it might well explain the steep rise in asthma rates among their grandchildren's generation.
 
 
+3 # Organizer 2012-07-15 08:36
Much of the commentary here is really ill informed. Human beings are made out of protein for god's sake! Every time you eat chicken, fish, or vegetables, you are getting protein. Not all protein is toxic, just some of it. But check out the French research showing GMO modified maize really is more toxic than regular maize. That's the kind of work we need to reference. Don't get me wrong about Monsanto. I believe they are massively destructive - they are a plague on agricultural systems all over the world. Let's just not get sloppy about the basic principles of science in making these claims.
 
 
+1 # jaseki 2012-07-15 12:10
Good to bring up this point because the more people sound like babbling paranoids without good science to back them up, the less likely we are to be taken seriously.
 
 
+1 # RnR 2012-07-15 08:46
Monsanto at meeting with shadowy government representatives : Yeah, some of dem will die but da rest a dem might develop resistance to our manipulations - it's like a...a...natural evolution
 
 
-16 # getthetruth4achange 2012-07-15 10:53
This is one employee who worked for the old Monsanto chemical company more than 10 years ago. Look it up - he was a sales person and one of now 25,000+ employees and probably about 50,000 employees since the 1990's . So one person who wouldn't have known squat> Bullshit. The company is a new company -literally its a new corporation started in 2001 as a spin off and sells mainly seeds - about 15% revenue comes from RoundUp chem the rest from seed sales (some organic seeds). everything about your story is made up from website stories that are themselves made up. You can believe anything you want but believing in non existing things makes you a looney tunes - as a looey tunes you wouldn't believe me and that why the company just probably never tried to respond but I just hate lies and wouldn't let you get away with it without comments.

As much as you complain you will not change anything because the facts are not correct and none can look straight into the eyes of a sensible person and explain lies away
 
 
0 # ErnestineBass 2012-07-16 10:09
Please share with us your "knowledge" regarding 1) prions, 2) the process of "cellular protein production", and 3) variations in protein production that occur after foreign genetic material has been spliced onto the genetic material of a host organism.
 
 
0 # jamminjames 2012-07-16 13:04
See this funny spoof news story on Monsanto! http://www.humortimes.com/10880/monsanto-declares-all-gmo-crops-organic/
 

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