Is Eli Lilly Milking Cancer by Promoting and Treating It?

Breast Cancer Action and a coalition of consumer and health organizations have launched a campaign called Milking Cancer, where you can demand from Eli Lilly that they withdraw their dangerous bovine growth hormone from the market. For more on bovine growth hormone, see the 18-minute film, Your Milk on Drugs.

Years ago, an owner of a glass company was arrested for throwing bricks through store windows in his town. What a way to increase business! Has Eli Lilly figured out the drug equivalent of breaking, then fixing our windows?

In August 2008, the huge drug company agreed to buy Monsanto’s bovine growth hormone (rbST or rbGH), which is injected into cows in the US to increase milk supply. It was an odd choice at the time. A reporter asked Lilly’s representative why on earth his veterinary division Elanco just paid $300 million for a drug that other companies wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. The drug’s days were obviously numbered. The former head of the American Medical Association has urged hospitals to stop using dairy products from rbGH-injected cows, the American Nurses Association came out against it, even Wal-Mart has joined the ranks of numerous retailers and dairies loudly proclaiming their cows are rbGH-free. In fact, Monsanto’s stock rose by almost 5% when the sale was announced, and Eli Lilly’s dropped by nearly 1%.

The main reason for the unpopularity of this hormone, which is banned in most other industrialized countries, is the danger of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). Dozens of studies confirm that IGF-1, which accelerates cell division, substantially increases the risk of breast, prostate, colon, lung, and other cancers. Normal milk contains IGF-1, milk drinkers have higher levels of IGF-1, and the milk from cows injected with Eli Lilly’s drug has much greater amounts of IGF-1. You can connect the dots.

Would it be too crass to point out the obvious conflict-of-the-public’s-interest that Eli Lilly also markets cancer drugs? In fact their drug Evista, which might help reduce the risk of breast cancer, may lower IGF-1 (according to one small study). So on the one hand, Eli Lilly pushes a milk drug that might increase cancer, and on the other, it comes to the rescue with drugs to treat or “prevent” cancer. Call it the perfect cancer profit cycle.

It gets better.

Cows treated with rbGH have much higher incidence of mastitis, a painful infection of the udder. This results in more pus in the milk (yuck). But don’t worry. It’s Eli Lilly to the rescue again. They are one of the companies happy to sell antibiotics to dairy farmers to treat the infection–which can’t help but increase antibiotic resistance in humans (double yuck).

History of Lawsuits and Criminal Charges

But would Eli Lilly consciously risk our health just to increase their profit? What kind of company are they and can we trust them with our food? If recent events are any indication, you better look for rbGH-free labels.

A December 17, 2006 New York Times article revealed that according to hundreds of internal documents and emails,

Eli Lilly has engaged in a decade-long effort to play down the health risks of Zyprexa. … Lilly executives kept important information from doctors about Zyprexa’s links to obesity and its tendency to raise blood sugar — both known risk factors for diabetes. … Lilly was concerned that Zyprexa’s sales would be hurt if the company was more forthright about the fact that the drug might cause unmanageable weight gain or diabetes.

Their own surveys revealed that 70% of psychiatrists had at least one patient “develop high blood sugar or diabetes while taking Zyprexa.” And 30% of patients taking the drug for a year gained at least 22 pounds–some over 100 pounds. But Lilly told their sales team, “Don’t introduce the issue!!!”

One doctor even warned: “Unless we come clean on this, it could get much more serious than we might anticipate.” It did indeed get serious. They paid out hundreds of millions in settlements to people who claimed they developed diabetes or other disorders.

But Lilly’s Zyprexa troubles were not over. In early 2009, they were forced to pay a record-setting $1.42 billion settlement with the Justice Department, and another record-setting state consumer protection claim of $62 million, for illegally marketing the drug to children and the elderly. It emerged in June of this year that Lilly “officials wrote medical journal studies about the antipsychotic Zyprexa and then asked doctors to put their names on the articles, a practice called ‘ghostwriting.’”

Eli Lilly was also the maker of the infamous Diethylstilbestrol (DES), a synthetic estrogen. Starting in 1938, it was prescribed to pregnant women to prevent miscarriages and other problems. Although in 1953, research showed that it didn’t actually prevent miscarriages, it continued to be used until 1971, when the FDA alerted the public that the daughters exposed to DES in the womb were at risk of a rare vaginal cancer. An estimated 5-10 million pregnant women received DES. The civil courts held Lilly liable because they should have foreseen (based on prior information) that DES might cause cancer and that Lilly should have done the proper testing before marketing it.

Rigging Research

In the late 1980s Eli Lilly was one of four companies (including American Cyanamid, Upjohn, and Monsanto) that tried to get their version of bovine growth hormone approved by the FDA. I sat down with Dr. Richard Burroughs, who was a lead reviewer for the agency on these applications. He didn’t have kind words to say about the companies. “They didn’t follow good science and they didn’t follow regulations for adequate well controlled studies,” he said. “They just went out and skewed the data.”

He said, for example, that Eli Lilly had mysteriously lost organ samples that may have shown problems in injected cows. And their researchers came up with creative ways to hide reproductive changes in the animals. Specifically, injections appeared to suppress cows’ regular menstrual cycle or reduce the visual symptoms. The company was required to report the number of cows “in heat,” but was told by the FDA that they could not use bulls to identify them. If bulls were needed, then the label on their drug would have to inform farmers that they would need a bull to help identify which cows were in heat. And most farms didn’t have bulls.

According to Burroughs, FDA investigators figured out that Lilly researchers secretly pumped up a heifer–a young female cow–with male hormones, so that the transgendered animal would act like a male and be attracted to the cows in heat. Lilly followed the letter of the law by not using a bull, but well, you can decide if you want to trust these guys.

Eventually, Lilly and two other companies withdrew their products, leaving Monsanto’s brand of rbGH as the only one that got approved and marketed. But Lilly worked a deal where they represented Monsanto’s drug outside the US. They sell it in 20 countries, including South Africa, Brazil, Colombia, Honduras, Kenya and Mexico. And now, they offer it in the US as well.

Human Reproductive Problems from Drugged Milk

In May 2006, an article in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine concluded that rbGH use, and the subsequent increase in IGF-1 in the US diet, is probably the reason why we have much higher levels of fraternal twins compared to the UK, where rbGH is banned.

Mothers with twin births are more likely to suffer from hypertension, gestational diabetes, hemorrhage, and miscarriage. Twin babies are more likely to be born prematurely and suffer from birth defects, mental retardation, cerebral palsy, vision and hearing disorders, and serious organ problems. How many drugs do you suppose Eli Lilly sells to treat these disorders?

Tell Eli Lilly to take rbGH off the market and out of your milk. To find non-rbGH dairy products, check out the non-GMO shopping section at www.responsibletechology.org.

Lyme/Autism Group Blasts Genetically Modified Foods as Dangerous

Stop eating dangerous genetically modified (GM) foods! That’s the upshot of the Lyme Induced Autism (LIA) Foundation’s position paper released today.

The patient advocacy group is not willing to wait around until research studies prove that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) cause or worsen the many diseases that are on the rise since gene-spliced foods were introduced in 1996. Like the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) earlier this year, the LIA Foundation says there is more than enough evidence of harm in GM animal feeding studies for them to “urge doctors to prescribe non-GMO diets” and for “individuals, especially those with autism, Lyme disease, and associated conditions, to avoid” GM foods.

Dr. Jannelle Love, founder of the Autism Relief Foundation, is quoted in Kimberly Wilcox’s excellent article:

“It is known that children on the Autistic Spectrum suffer from fragile immune systems, significant digestive and brain inflammation, and the environmental toxin overload. Putting foreign entities such as GMO foods into such a fragile child may indeed cause further deterioration and perhaps block the delicate biochemical pathways needed for appropriate functioning and possible recovery.”

The LIA Foundation calls for physicians and patient advocacy groups to explain to patients the role that GM foods may play in disease and to distribute non-GMO educational materials, including the Non-GMO Shopping Guide, which makes it easier to find brands without GM ingredients. (See www.nonGMOGuide.com). They also called for a moratorium on all GM foods and for “Research to evaluate the role of GM foods on autism, Lyme disease, and related conditions.”

GMOs: pervasive and high-risk

The five main GM foods are soy, corn, cotton, canola, and sugar beets. Their derivatives are found in more than 70 percent of the foods in the supermarket. The primary reason the plants are engineered is to allow them to drink poison. They’re inserted with bacterial genes that allow them to survive otherwise deadly doses of poisonous herbicide. Biotech companies sell the seed and herbicide as a package deal. Roundup Ready crops survive sprays of Roundup. Liberty Link crops survive Liberty. US farmers use hundreds of millions of pounds more herbicide because of these herbicide-tolerant crops, and the higher toxic residues end up inside of us. The LIA position paper acknowledges that “Individuals with infections that compromise immunity… and/or high toxin loads may also be especially susceptible to adverse effects from pesticides.”

Some GM corn and cotton varieties are also designed to produce poison. Inserted genes from a soil bacterium produce an insect-killing poison called Bt-toxin in every cell of the plant. Bt is associated with allergic and toxic reactions in humans and animals, and may create havoc in our digestive system (see below).

All GM crops, in fact, should be considered high-risk. Irrespective of which gene you insert, the process of genetic engineering itself results in massive collateral damage within the plants’ natural DNA. This can result in new or higher levels of toxins, carcinogens, allergens, or nutrient-blocking compounds in our food.

Because of a corporate takeover at the FDA, they don’t require a single safety test on GMOs — so almost none of the potential side effects are evaluated before the crops are approved for sale. The few animal feeding safety studies that have been conducted, however, show serious problems. It’s obvious why those suffering from autism, Lyme, or any ailment, would want to stop being used as a guinea pig in this massive GMO feeding experiment.

AAEM physician Amy Dean, a board certified internal medicine specialist, says:

“GMOs have been shown to adversely affect the digestive and immune systems of animals in laboratory settings. Lyme and autism, on the rise in the US, are also associated with digestive and immune system dysfunction. Therefore, patients with Lyme and autism should avoid GM foods.”

Autism, food allergies, and GMOs

It is noteworthy that children with autism are often allergic to corn and soy. Both are genetically engineered. Many are also allergic to dairy.

The LIA press release points out, “dairy cows are usually fed GM feed and sometimes injected with GM bovine growth hormone.” Although no studies have looked at the impact of eating meat or milk from GM-fed animals, secret FDA documents made public from a lawsuit revealed that their Center for Veterinary Medicine was very concerned that toxins from GM foods might bioaccumulate in the livestock. If so, their milk and meat may be even more dangerous than the GM plants.

Studies on the impact of bovine growth hormone on the cows’ milk are less ambiguous. The dairy products from treated cows contain higher amounts of puss, antibiotics, bovine growth hormone, and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). The last on the list is considered most dangerous. IGF-1 is linked to a much higher risk of cancer, and according to one study, may also be responsible for the high rates of fraternal twins born in the US.

GMO health risk sampler

Our Institute for Responsible Technology’s Campaign for Healthier Eating in America has been very busy distributing our Non-GMO Shopping Guide to doctors around the nation, who are quite concerned about the impact of GMOs on their own and their patients’ health. They are also giving patients our small pamphlet that summarizes the health dangers of GMOs. This helps to inspire people to use the Shopping Guide. Some of the health risks are included below. (Citations are posted.) See if you’re also “inspired.”

Digestive disorders

According to GMO safety expert Arpad Pusztai, PhD, the digestive tract is the first and largest point of contact with GM foods and can reveal reactions to various toxins. Lab animals fed GM feed developed lesions in the stomach, damage intestines, and abnormal and proliferative cell growth in the walls of the stomach and intestines.

Toxic intestinal bacteria

The beneficial bacteria living inside our digestive tract is used for digestion and immunity. Excessive herbicide residues on herbicide-tolerant GM crops may kill beneficial gut flora. More importantly, the only published human feeding experiment revealed that the genetic material inserted into GM soy transfers into bacteria living inside our intestines and continues to function. This means that long after we stop eating GM foods, we may still have dangerous GM proteins continuously produced inside us. Consider, for example, if the gene that creates Bt-toxin in GM corn were also to transfer. It might turn our intestinal bacteria into living pesticide factories.

Compromised immune system

Virtually every animal feeding study that looked for immune changes from GMOs found them. GM-fed animals had a sluggish immune responses, damaged organs associated with immunity, altered parameters in the blood, and dangerous inflammatory and immune reactions.

Allergies

No tests can guarantee that a GMO will not cause allergies. Although the World Health Organization recommends a screening protocol, GM soy and corn fail those tests–because their GM proteins have properties of known allergens.

Soon after GM soy was introduced in the UK, soy allergies skyrocketed by 50 percent. A skin prick allergy test verified that some people react to GM soy, but not to natural soy. GM soy contains as much as 7-times the amount of a known soy allergen. Both GM soy and corn contain at least one new unexpected allergen, not found in natural crops.

The biotech industry claims that Bt-toxin is harmless to humans and mammals because the natural bacteria version has been used as a spray by farmers for years. In reality, hundreds of people exposed to natural Bt spray had allergic and flu-like symptoms. Now, farm workers throughout India are getting those same symptoms from handling Bt cotton. Likewise, mice fed natural Bt had powerful immune responses; now mice and rats fed Bt corn also show immune responses.

GMOs may make you allergic to non-GM foods

Since GMOs were introduced in the US, food allergies have become a huge problem, especially for kids. Some of the foods that trigger reactions, however, are not genetically engineered. But studies show how GM foods might create sensitivity to other foods, and may in fact be contributing to this national epidemic.

GM soy, for example, drastically reduces digestive enzymes in mice. If our ability to breakdown proteins was impaired, we could become allergic to a wide variety of foods.

Mice fed Bt-toxin not only reacted to the Bt itself, they started having immune reactions to foods that were formerly harmless. The Bt-toxin in the corn we eat may have a similar impact. Mice fed experimental GM peas also started reacting to a range of other “safe” foods. The allergen responsible for this reaction may be found in GM foods on our supermarket shelves.

GMOs and liver problems

The liver is a primary detoxifier. Its condition can indicate if there are toxins in our food. Mice and rats fed GM feed had profound changes in their livers. In some cases, livers were smaller and partially atrophied. Some were significantly heavier, possibly inflamed. And certain cellular changes indicated a toxic insult from the GM diet.

Reproductive problems and infant mortality

Both male and female animals showed horrific problems when fed GM soy. More than half the babies of mother rats fed GM soy died within three weeks, compared to 10 percent of the non-GM soy controls. The GM babies were also considerably smaller, and were unable to conceive in a subsequent study. Male rats and mice fed GM soy had changed testicles, including altered young sperm cells in the mice. And when both mouse parents ate GM soy, the DNA of their embryos functioned differently. GM corn also had an impact. The longer mice were fed the corn, the fewer babies they had and the smaller their babies were.

Livestock sterility, disease, and death

Many of the problems seen in laboratories are also reported by farmers and investigators in the field.

  • Thousands of sheep, buffalo, and goats in India died after grazing on Bt cotton plants after harvest. Others suffered poor health and serious reproductive problems.
  • Farmers in Europe and Asia say that cows, water buffaloes, chickens, and horses died from eating Bt corn varieties.
  • About two dozen US farmers report that GM corn varieties caused widespread sterility in pigs or cows.

Ready to change your diet?

Inspired? How about alarmed? Choosing non-GMO diets is not only a good idea for those suffering from disease, but for anyone wanting to eat healthy and prevent disease.

Safe eating.

You’re Appointing Who? Please Obama, Say It’s Not So!

The person who may be responsible for more food-related illness and death than anyone in history has just been made the US food safety czar. This is no joke.

Here’s the back story.

When FDA scientists were asked to weigh in on what was to become the most radical and potentially dangerous change in our food supply—the introduction of genetically modified (GM) foods—secret documents now reveal that the experts were very concerned. Memo after memo described toxins, new diseases, nutritional deficiencies, and hard-to-detect allergens. They were adamant that the technology carried “serious health hazards,” and required careful, long-term research, including human studies, before any genetically modified organisms (GMOs) could be safely released into the food supply.

But the biotech industry had rigged the game so that neither science nor scientists would stand in their way. They had placed their own man in charge of FDA policy and he wasn’t going to be swayed by feeble arguments related to food safety. No, he was going to do what corporations had done for decades to get past these types of pesky concerns. He was going to lie.

Dangerous Food Safety Lies

When the FDA was constructing their GMO policy in 1991-2, their scientists were clear that gene-sliced foods were significantly different and could lead to “different risks” than conventional foods. But official policy declared the opposite, claiming that the FDA knew nothing of significant differences, and declared GMOs substantially equivalent.

This fiction became the rationale for allowing GM foods on the market without any required safety studies whatsoever! The determination of whether GM foods were safe to eat was placed entirely in the hands of the companies that made them—companies like Monsanto, which told us that the PCBs, DDT, and Agent Orange were safe.

GMOs were rushed onto our plates in 1996. Over the next nine years, multiple chronic illnesses in the US nearly doubled—from 7% to 13%. Allergy-related emergency room visits doubled between 1997 and 2002 while food allergies, especially among children, skyrocketed. We also witnessed a dramatic rise in asthma, autism, obesity, diabetes, digestive disorders, and certain cancers.

In January of this year, Dr. P. M. Bhargava, one of the world’s top biologists, told me that after reviewing 600 scientific journals, he concluded that the GM foods in the US are largely responsible for the increase in many serious diseases.

In May, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine concluded that animal studies have demonstrated a causal relationship between GM foods and infertility, accelerated aging, dysfunctional insulin regulation, changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system, and immune problems such as asthma, allergies, and inflammation

In July, a report by eight international experts determined that the flimsy and superficial evaluations of GMOs by both regulators and GM companies “systematically overlook the side effects” and significantly underestimate “the initial signs of diseases like cancer and diseases of the hormonal, immune, nervous and reproductive systems, among others.”

The Fox Guarding the Chickens

If GMOs are indeed responsible for massive sickness and death, then the individual who oversaw the FDA policy that facilitated their introduction holds a uniquely infamous role in human history. That person is Michael Taylor. He had been Monsanto’s attorney before becoming policy chief at the FDA. Soon after, he became Monsanto’s vice president and chief lobbyist.

This month Michael Taylor became the senior advisor to the commissioner of the FDA. He is now America’s food safety czar. What have we done?

The Milk Man Cometh

While Taylor was at the FDA in the early 90′s, he also oversaw the policy regarding Monsanto’s genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rbGH/rbST)—injected into cows to increase milk supply.

The milk from injected cows has more pus, more antibiotics, more bovine growth hormone, and most importantly, more insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). IGF-1 is a huge risk factor for common cancers and its high levels in this drugged milk is why so many medical organizations and hospitals have taken stands against rbGH. A former Monsanto scientist told me that when three of his Monsanto colleagues evaluated rbGH safety and discovered the elevated IGF-1 levels, even they refused to drink any more milk—unless it was organic and therefore untreated.

Government scientists from Canada evaluated the FDA’s approval of rbGH and concluded that it was a dangerous facade. The drug was banned in Canada, as well as Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. But it was approved in the US while Michael Taylor was in charge. His drugged milk might have caused a significant rise in US cancer rates. Additional published evidence also implicates rbGH in the high rate of fraternal twins in the US.

Taylor also determined that milk from injected cows did not require any special labeling. And as a gift to his future employer Monsanto, he wrote a white paper suggesting that if companies ever had the audacity to label their products as not using rbGH, they should also include a disclaimer stating that according to the FDA, there is no difference between milk from treated and untreated cows.

Taylor’s disclaimer was also a lie. Monsanto’s own studies and FDA scientists officially acknowledged differences in the drugged milk. No matter. Monsanto used Taylor’s white paper as the basis to successfully sue dairies that labeled their products as rbGH-free.

Will Monsanto’s Wolff Also Guard the Chickens?

As consumers learned that rbGH was dangerous, they refused to buy the milk. To keep their customers, a tidal wave of companies has publicly committed to not use the drug and to label their products as such. Monsanto tried unsuccessfully to convince the FDA and FTC to make it illegal for dairies to make rbGH-free claims, so they went to their special friend in Pennsylvania—Dennis Wolff. As state secretary of agriculture, Wolff unilaterally declared that labeling products rbGH-free was illegal, and that all such labels must be removed from shelves statewide. This would, of course, eliminate the label from all national brands, as they couldn’t afford to create separate packaging for just one state.

Fortunately, consumer demand forced Pennsylvania’s Governor Ed Rendell to step in and stop Wolff’s madness. But Rendell allowed Wolff to take a compromised position that now requires rbGH-free claims to also be accompanied by Taylor’s FDA disclaimer on the package.

President Obama is considering Dennis Wolff for the top food safety post at the USDA. Yikes!

Rumor has it that the reason why Pennsylvania’s governor is supporting Wolff’s appointment is to get him out of the state—after he “screwed up so badly” with the rbGH decision. Oh great, governor. Thanks.

Ohio Governor Gets Taylor-itus

Ohio not only followed Pennsylvania’s lead by requiring Taylor’s FDA disclaimer on packaging, they went a step further. They declared that dairies must place that disclaimer on the same panel where rbGH-free claims are made, and even dictated the font size. This would force national brands to re-design their labels and may ultimately dissuade them from making rbGH-free claims at all. The Organic Trade Association and the International Dairy Foods Association filed a lawsuit against Ohio. Although they lost the first court battle, upon appeal, the judge ordered a mediation session that takes place today. Thousands of Ohio citizens have flooded Governor Strickland’s office with urgent requests to withdraw the states anti-consumer labeling requirements.

Perhaps the governor has an ulterior motive for pushing his new rules. If he goes ahead with his labeling plans, he might end up with a top appointment in the Obama administration.

To hear what America is saying about GMOs and to add your voice, go to our new non-GMO Facebook Group.

Monsanto Forced Fox TV to Censor Coverage of Dangerous Milk Drug

The material for this series is drawn from my books Genetic Roulette and Seeds of Deception, and my 18-minute online film Your Milk on Drugs—Just Say No!.

Get Our Milk off Drugs, Part 3

I know from personal experience how satisfying it is to catch some nasty multinational corporation telling lies about the safety of their product—especially when that company is Monsanto, the world’s largest maker of genetically modified (GM) foods. So I could only imagine the excitement of investigative reporters Jane Akre and Steve Wilson, who had caught a Monsanto executive on film repeatedly lying about GM bovine growth hormone (rbGH or rbST).

The two worked at WTVT, a Fox television station in Tampa, Florida, and were described as a “television dream team.” Akre was a former CNN anchorwoman and reporter, Wilson a three-time Emmy Award winner whom Penthouse described as “one of the most famous and feared journalists in America.” Their four-part news series on rbGH was scheduled to begin on February 24, 1997. It was going to expose Monsanto’s lies to the world, and show how the milk from treated cows was dangerously linked to cancer.

Lies, Damn Lies, and Monsanto’s Lies

Monsanto’s dairy research director Bob Collier, PhD, was the rbGH front man who was interviewed by Jane Akre. Here is a sample of some of his claims.

Collier said, [rbGH] “is the single most-tested product in history.” The reporters, however, found that “experts in the field of domestic animal science say that this claim is demonstrably false.”

When asked why rbGH had not been approved in Europe, he said the EU “approved it technically from a safety standpoint, but the dairy policy there was such that they still have price supports . . . it proved to be a moratorium based on market issues not health issues.”

In reality, health was Europe’s key reason for banning the drug. A December 1994 letter from the Vice President of the Agriculture Committee of the European Commission to the director of the FDA stated,

“Consumers in the European Community and their representatives in the European Parliament are apparently much more concerned about the unresolved human health issues related to [rbGH] than your agency was when it authorized the product.”

When Akre asked Collier whether injections “rev up” the cows, he said the hormone “does not change the basal metabolic rate, it merely increases the amount of milk produced.” But his statement is contradicted even by Monsanto’s literature.

Injected cows also have much higher levels of udder infections, which put more pus in the milk. To treat this, farmers use more antibiotics, which also end up in the milk. But Collier claimed that increased levels of antibiotics in the milk weren’t a problem, since every truckload of milk is tested. But scientists and Florida dairy officials told the reporters that each truckload is only tested for penicillin-related antibiotics. There’s also a spot check for one other antibiotic every three months Such monitoring misses most of the more than 60 varieties of antibiotics used by dairy farmers.

Collier also made the wild claim, “We have not opposed” voluntary labeling of products as rbGH-free. In truth, Monsanto filed lawsuits against two small dairies to force them to stop labeling their milk as rbGH-free. According to Rachel’s Environment and Health Weekly “The dairies folded and Monsanto then sent letters around to other dairy organizations announcing the outcome of the two lawsuits—in all likelihood, for purposes of intimidation.” Years later, as the trend towards rbGH-free milk started taking off, Monsanto asked the FDA and FTC to make such label claims illegal. When the feds turned down their request, Monsanto asked state governments to ban the labels.

At one point in the interview, Akre had had enough of Collier’s lies. She was not going to let him get away with it anymore. (Here is an excerpt from my book Seeds of Deception.)

Akre redirected the conversation to IGF-1, the growth hormone associated with cancer. Akre recollected, “I asked about the limited testing for the effects of altered milk on humans. Collier tells me ‘because the concentration of IGF-1 . . . doesn’t change, there is no change in exposure, so the FDA concluded there is no indication that long-term chronic studies were justified.’”

Now Akre was ready. She reached into a stack of papers on her lap—research she had collected and some of the five pounds of documents sent to her by Monsanto, which, she is sure, they didn’t expect her to read.

Akre pulled out an FDA report published in Science 1990, stating that Monsanto’s own studies clearly show an increase of IGF-1 in milk. Colliers, who was fidgeting, clearing his throat, and stammering, was clearly uncomfortable.

He reassured her that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Government Accounting Office also review the process for human safety and concluded that Monsanto’s test process was correct. But Akre was ready again: “I pull out an American Medical Association report that says further study is needed as to the effects of IGF-1 on humans.” She points out that the NIH also said more study is needed.

Collier then tried to claim that IGF-1 is destroyed during the process of digestion, but Akre had read the studies and knew that too was false.

Akre and Wilson wove Collier’s lies throughout their 4-part series, which made it clear that rbGH was a potentially huge public health danger. They were sure the program would have a big impact. They were right, but it wasn’t what they planned.

Monsanto Threatens Fox

On the Friday before Monday’s air date, Monsanto’s lawyer faxed a letter to Roger Ailes, the head of Fox News in New York, claiming that the series was biased and unscientific. It threatened, “There is a lot at stake in what is going on in Florida, not only for Monsanto, but also for Fox News and its owner.” Rupert Murdoch, of course is the owner, and part of what was at stake was lots of Monsanto advertising dollars—for the Florida station, the entire Fox network, and Murdoch’s Actmedia, a major advertising agency used by Monsanto. Fox pulled the series for “further review.”

After the Florida station’s general manager, who had a background in investigative reporting, meticulously vetted the show, he verified that every statement was accurate and unbiased. The station re-scheduled the series for the following week.

Monsanto’s attorney immediately sent another, more strongly worded letter to Ailes, this time indicating that the news story “could lead to serious damage to Monsanto and dire consequences for Fox News.” The airing was postponed indefinitely.

The Florida station’s general manager and news manager were soon fired, and according to Wilson, the new general manager was a salesman with no news experience. Wilson tried to convince him to run the rbGH story on its merits. He said Monsanto’s whole PR campaign was based on the false statement that milk from rbGH-treated cows is “the same safe wholesome product we’ve always known.” But even Monsanto’s own studies showed this to be a lie, and it could be endangering the public. Wilson recounted to me,

“I tried to appeal to his basic sense of why this is news. He responded, ‘Don’t tell me what news is. We paid $2 billion for these television stations and the news is what we say it is. We’ll tell you what the news is.’”

According to Wilson, the manager offered hush money to the two reporters. They would be paid the full amount of what was remaining in their contract, but they were free to go—essentially fired. But there was a catch. They were to agree never to talk about rbGH again—not for any other news organization.

Wilson responded, “I’m never going to agree for any amount of money you offer me to gag myself from revealing in some other time and place what’s going on here.” Wilson told me,

“He looked at us with this blank stare like he’d never heard such a thing. And he said, ‘I don’t get it. What’s with you people? I just want people who want to be on TV. . . . I’ve never met any people like you before.’ He just offered us 6 figures and to him what we were being asked to do in exchange was no big deal. Why in the world would we turn it down? And lose a chance to continue to be on TV—as if that is such a big deal that one would sell one’s soul to continue to do it.”

The reporters offered to re-write the show to make it more palatable, but with each draft, Fox attorneys instructed them to make it more favorable to Monsanto. Over the next 6 months, they re-wrote the script 83 times.

Akre and Wilson “were repeatedly instructed to include unverified and even some outright false statements by Monsanto’s dairy research director.” For example, they were told to include a statement that milk from rbGH-injected cows is the same and as safe as milk from untreated cows. The reporters said that management even threatened to fire them if the statement was not included.

Akre told me, “We knew it was a lie. Monsanto’s own study showed it was a lie. Yet we were told to leave that statement in without refutation, even though we had contrary evidence. That’s falsifying the news.”

When they showed the evidence to Fox’s lawyer that Monsanto’s claims were false, according to Wilson she replied, “You guys don’t get it—it isn’t about whether you have your facts right or whether it’s true. It’s the fact that we don’t want to put up $200,000 to go up against Monsanto.”

Fox suspended the two for “insubordination,” then fired them altogether.

TV News Goes to Court

Akre and Wilson sued the Fox station. They based their case on Florida whistle-blower laws, which protect employees from retaliation for reporting (or threatening to report) . to a government regulatory agency. employer misconduct, which violates any law, rule or regulation speaking out (or threatening to speak out) against their employer for breaking the law. The jury awarded Akre $425,000, agreeing that her dismissal was retaliation for her threat to tell the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) about the station’s plan to report false information on television.

Fox appealed and the case was overturned. It turns out that lying on TV is not against the law. The FCC’s policy against news distortion is a policy, not a “rule, law, or regulation,” so the Florida’s whistle-blower law did not apply. Furthermore, in a move certain to chill future whistleblowers, the court used the “Non-Prevailing Party Pays” provision of the state’s whistleblower protection act to rule that Akre and Wilson pay nearly $200,000 of Fox’s legal fees.

The reporters have since been the recipients of numerous awards for their ethics and courage, including the Goldman environmental prize, considered the Nobel Prize for the environment. The Fox station eventually ran a neutered report on rbGH that contained Monsanto’s false statement that rbGH milk is unchanged. Fortunately, one of the earlier versions of the original Akre and Wilson series became public domain when it was used as an exhibit in their trial. With their blessing, I extracted footage from their excellent piece for my 18-minute film Your Milk on Drugs—Just Say No!, which is available online Also see Part 1, and Part 2 of this series.

Email Governor Sebelius before April 16, urging her to veto a bill that would require all national dairy brands that label their products as rbGH-free, to also place a false disclaimer, saying that there is no difference in milk from treated and non-treated cows.