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Monsanto’s Friends in High Places

mises.org / By Hunter Lewis / 

Editor’s Note: The following is adapted from Hunter Lewis’s new book Crony Capitalism in Americanow available in the Mises Store.

Many companies hope to send an employee into a government agency to influence regulation. How much better if the employee can actually shape government regulation to promote and sell a specific product! Monsanto seems to have accomplished this — and much more.

Michael Taylor is among a number of people with Monsanto ties who have worked in government in recent years. He worked for the Nixon and Reagan Food and Drug Administration in the 1970s, then became a lawyer representing Monsanto. In 1991, he returned to the FDA as Deputy Commissioner for Policy under George H. W. Bush, and helped secure approval for Monsanto’s genetically engineered bovine (cow) growth hormone, despite it being banned in Canada, Europe, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.

This was only a start for Taylor. He also did not like some producers advertising their milk as bovine-growth-hormone-free. That seemed to put Monsanto’s product in an unfavorable light. So in 1994 he wrote a guidance document from within the FDA requiring that any food label describing the product as bovine-growth-hormone-free must also include these words: “The FDA has determined … no significant difference has been shown between milk derived from [BGH] and non-[BGH] supplemented cows.”

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