One of the big talking points by anti-GMO advocates is if GMO products are safe, why are companies afraid to label them? Well, apparently what’s good for the GMO goose is not good for the anti-GMO gander.
Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois introduced an amendment to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Safety and Innovation Act which would require health supplement companies to list the ingredients of the products on the label. That’s it. No testing, just labeling and registering. The idea is that should any health problems arise, the FDA will have the information to track down the source of the problem. The Durbin amendment lost but could be brought up again.
Well, the supplement industry seems to have a bit of a problem with this. They don’t want their products labeled. And who is leading the charge? Why it’s our very own Dr. Mercola, the guy whom prominent biologist Steven Salzberg, called “the 21st-century equivalent of a snake-oil salesman.”
Mercola is the largest contributor, $800k, to the California GMO labeling law campaign. The campaign has various groups aligned with it with names like “The Right to Know” and “Just Label it.”
The supporters claim that a simple label is not that big of a deal and will not cause any financial hardship on the companies. Mercola says the result of labeling would create financial hardships on supplement selling companies, “granting the FDA more power to regulate supplements as if they were drugs, effectively putting supplement companies out of business.” Wait, it’s just a label, right?
And, no, it doesn’t treat them like drugs. There is no testing involved for approval. Durbin’s amendment simply requires the listing of ingredients.
Why are Mercola and the rest of the supplement industry so vehemently against this amendment? All it requires, to repeat once more, is to list the ingredients on the label. Why is Mercola so against the Right to Know?
It just might be if the ingredients are listed, it could show their supplements don’t have any benefits, or don’t have the benefits that a company claims they do. Mercola has already been cited three times by the FDA for making false and misleading claims.
Mercola worries that if Durbin’s Amendment passes it will be a “slippery slope..toward a supplement pre-approval system, similar to the one being used by the European Union. In the EU, only certain “approved” vitamins and minerals may be used in food supplements, and only in very limited amounts.”
The anti-GMO crowd always points to the EU and others as requiring labeling of GM foods as a talking point. (Note: the EU recently reversed their decision.) But, when it comes to supplements and their requirements, the EU has been bought off by Big Pharma?
Mercola also spews out statistics about how real drugs are more dangerous than supplements since there wasn’t one death from a dietary supplement in 2010. Of course he rattles off that the number of adverse effects of prescription drugs without putting the numbers context, such as abuse of those drugs. It is well-known that abuse of prescription drugs is a big problem.
He cites other statistics, but leaves out an important explanation. Real drugs can have adverse effects because they actually work. The baseline is risk assessment. Do the benefits outweigh the risks? For example, according to the organization Infection Research, “in 1963, when the vaccine for measles was approved three to four million people got measles. It resulted in 50,000 hospitalizations, 1000 permanent disabilities and 400–500 deaths. So, if there are 200+ adverse reactions to the measles vaccine, does that outweigh what we saw in 1963?
In a 2010 article in Forbes, the above mentioned Steve Salzberg wrote, “The problem is, our intuition is wrong. Two separate studies published this past week, involving tens of thousands of subjects, showed that high doses of vitamins and supplements, rather than being helpful, can sometimes kill you.”
Salzberg points to a statement by The Council for Responsible Nutrition, a supplement industry lobbying group where they take issue with the studies, “CRN maintains that nutrients may be robbed of their beneficial effects when viewed as if they were pharmaceutical agents, with scientists looking to isolate those effects, good or bad.” Huh? What? If you treat supplements as drugs they lose their effectiveness? How? Do the supplements resent being compared to pharmaceuticals so they get depressed and that affects their effectiveness?
The alternative health industry is full of screwballs. They seem to want to play by their own rules. They don’t want to be subject to the same rules and regulations as other industries. If it is demanded that they do, they play the victim. They are victims of Big Pharma and their bought off minions in government. It’s a conspiracy to suppress the truth. Big Pharma can’t make money on natural cures, so they seek to destroy the alternative health industry. What they are is Big Quacka. They peddle dubious cures and supplements and refuse to be held accountable because they know they’re charlatans and hucksters.