In her preamble, Ms. Wente suggests that “we need to blow the whistle on junk science”. I agree, but we need to do the same on junk journalism, which is exemplified by her article. My understanding is that journalism’s first obligation is to tell the truth (i.e. the whole truth, and not half-truths & tainted opinions; as is the case with Ms Wente’s piece).
For example, she states that: The (bovine) growth hormone, also known as rBST, which stimulates the cow’s milk production, is “the same hormone that is naturally produced in the cow’s pituitary gland.” Further: “Milk from treated cows is virtually identical to other milk.” And: “ there aren’t any effects of rBGH on human health”.
These statements are not true; in fact, Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH or rBST) is a genetically engineered drug, originally developed by Monsanto, which later sold the business to Eli Lilly. RBGH has never been proven safe, as is required by US Federal Law, largely, because its developers and proponents were practicing junk science and deception! That is why Ms Wente’s vitriolic attack on Dr Chopra and on Ms Carol Off of CBC is junk journalism! Let me elaborate.
Fact: several food safety concerns were identified for rBGH by scientists the world-over (including some from within the FDA). Most important among these: when the synthetic hormone is injected into a cow, it elevates the level not only of milk production, but also of another powerful growth hormone, IGF-1 (or Insulin-like Growth Factor-1; a component of milk), which increases the risk of breast, prostate, colon and lung cancer in humans. Further, IGF-1 reduces the effectiveness of various anticancer drugs (Refs: American Cancer Society, 2014; US Center for Food Safety, 2013; “What’s in your milk?—An expose of industry & government cover-up of the genetically engineered [rBGH] milk you are drinking”---book by Samuel Epstein, MD, 2007 ).http://www.amazon.ca/Whats-Your-Milk-Government-Genetically/dp/1412089204
Thus, based on overwhelming scientific evidence, rBGH was banned in the EU, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and thanks to Dr Chopra & his whistle-blowing colleagues, also in Canada. And why not in the US? Well, for the truth & answer, we turn to Mr. Steven Druker, a US Public Interest Attorney & author (hardly an “activist”), who in his seminal new book (“Altered Genes, Twisted Truth”) exposes how a shady corporate biotech cartel subverted science during the last three decades, corrupted governments and systematically deceived the public. Most of the factual material for the book was derived from 44,000 pages of internal (secret) documents of concerned FDA scientists, which Druker obtained by court order. I highly recommend the book to Ms Wente, if she wants to learn the whole truth about tainted milk and other risky GMO products on our plate (which she apparently considers perfectly safe). Frankly, readers of Canada’s national newspaper expect the whole truth from its columnists!
John Balatinecz, retired professor, University of Toronto, Toronto.