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President Obama during his 2009 inaugural address, saying he would work to to “restore science to its rightful place” in federal policies. (Courtesy YouTube)
President Obama during his 2009 inaugural address, saying he would work to to “restore science to its rightful place” in federal policies. (Courtesy YouTube)

During President Obama’s inaugural speech, back before his hair turned gray and he was setting his ambitious agenda, he said he wanted to “restore science to its rightful place” in creating federal policies.

That was Jan. 20, 2009, with the world looking on and Obama emphasizing his point by curling his right hand into one of those soft fists politicians love to use.

Six years later, that rightful place is not the geography some scientists had hoped for, especially those who work in the U.S. Agriculture Department.

Clostridium difficile is a bacteria that spreads rapidly because it is naturally resistant to many drugs used to treat other infections. The Centers for Disease Control says it's responsible for 250,000 infections a year, including 14,000 deaths. (Courtesy CDC)
Clostridium difficile is a bacteria that spreads rapidly because it is naturally resistant to many drugs used to treat other infections. The Centers for Disease Control says it's responsible for 250,000 infections a year, including 14,000 deaths. (Courtesy CDC)

I’ve got a suggestion on required reading for the people who want a place on the presidential advisory council on combating superbugs.

They must read Reuters’ excellent three-part series “Farmaceuticals,” which documents how the leading poultry companies are using much larger doses of antibiotics than the government realizes. Hoping to bulk up the breasts and soup up the growth of chickens, companies use “multiple, repeat shotgun blasts” of the drugs that may pose potential risks to humans, the series found.

“Astonishing,” is how a former FDA commissioner responded.

The Non-GMO Projects is an independent verification certification created by retailers. The bill introduced by a Republican congressman would create a similar certification by the USDA.
The Non-GMO Projects is an independent verification certification created by retailers. The bill introduced by a Republican congressman would create a similar certification by the USDA.

A Kansas congressman reintroduced a bill Wednesday outlawing state GMO labeling laws, an effort critics promptly called “Monsanto’s dream bill.”

Rep. Mike Pompeo, a Republican, brought back a revised version of the legislation that he offered last year that seeks to roll back states’ efforts to require mandatory labeling of genetically-modified organisms in food products. Pompeo’s bill, which has bipartisan support with nine Republicans and eight Democrats, is backed by a powerful coalition of food companies and manufacturers, including the Grocery Manufacturers Association.

Introduction of the bill sets up a battle between those who support the industry effort against the Democratic coalition of lawmakers that supports labeling. Several Democrats, along with celebrity chef Tom Colicchio, have introduced a bill that directs the FDA to require food manufacturers to label foods with GMO ingredients.

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