FDA deputy with ties to Monsanto draws fire
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of San Francisco Chronicle/Bloomberg
Posted: March 6th, 2012
A top federal regulator's ties to Monsanto Co., a maker of genetically modified food, are fueling an election-year recall push by consumer and public-interest groups flexing their clout on the Internet. Michael Taylor, the Food and Drug Administration's deputy commissioner for food safety, is at the center of a burgeoning dispute between opponents who have collected more than 420,000 signatures on an online petition demanding he be fired and supporters who praise his efforts to curb food-borne illnesses. At issue is the 16 months ending in 2000 that Taylor worked as Monsanto's vice president for public policy, between stints in the Clinton and Obama administrations. The petition reflects anger over the agency's enforcement actions against small food producers and products such as raw milk. The online petition, along with others circulated on Facebook and other social-media sites since at least August, blames Taylor for allowing genetically modified organisms into the U.S. food supply without requiring testing as to their effects while he served at the agency in the 1990s. Taylor, in an interview, said his work is misrepresented, and the effort to have him fired "is more about Monsanto than about me. The claim is I was a Monsanto lobbyist, which paints a bad picture," he said. "It doesn't say what I did there or what I think about biotechnology."