528 pages, b/w illustrations
Altered Genes, Twisted Truth tells the fascinating and frequently astounding story of how the massive enterprise to reconfigure the genetic core of the world's food supply was born, how it has routinely advanced through illicit means, and how it is recklessly subjecting our health and the health of the environment to unacceptable risks. It reveals that the venture is not based on sound science, as its proponents claim, but on the evasion of the standards of science; and it shows how for more than three decades, a host of eminent biologists and esteemed institutions have systematically contorted the truth in order to conceal the unique risks of genetically engineered foods – and get them onto our dinner plates.
Altered Genes, Twisted Truth also exposes how the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) became a key accomplice, in furtherance of its explicit agenda "to foster" biotechnology. Based on documents pried from the FDA's files through a lawsuit that the author initiated, it describes how the agency's politically influenced administrators disregarded the extensive warnings of their own scientists about the unusual risks of these novel products and ushered them onto supermarket shelves in violation of the mandates of federal food safety law. It further shows how they concealed their crime by covering up their experts' warnings and persistently lying about the facts, creating the illusion that GE foods have undergone rigorous scientific review when, in reality, the standard procedures of science have been circumvented.
Consequently, for almost 20 years, America's families have been regularly ingesting a group of novel products that are not only being sold illegally, but were determined to be unduly hazardous by the FDA's scientific staff. By the time this story has fully unfolded, it will be clear that the degradation of science it documents has not only been unsavory, but unprecedented – and that in no other instance have so many scientists so seriously subverted the standards they were trained to uphold, misled so many people, and imposed such magnitude of risk on both human and environmental health.
"Without doubt, one of the most important books of the last 50 years."
– From the Foreword by Jane Goodall
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Steven M. Druker is a public interest attorney who, as executive director of the Alliance for Bio-Integrity, initiated a lawsuit that forced the FDA to divulge its files on genetically engineered foods. This revealed that politically influenced administrators had covered up the warnings of their own scientists about the unusual risks of these foods, lied about the facts, and then allowed them to be marketed illegally. In organizing the suit, he assembled an unprecedented coalition of eminent scientists and religious leaders to stand with his organization as co-plaintiffs – the first time scientists had sued a federal administrative agency on the grounds that one of its policies is scientifically unsound. He is a prominent commentator on the risks of GE foods and has served on the food safety panels at conferences held by the National Research Council and the FDA, has given lectures at numerous universities (including the Biological Laboratories at Harvard and the University of Copenhagen), and has met with government officials throughout the world, including the UK's Environmental Minister and the heads of food safety for the UK, France, Ireland, and Australia. He also conferred at the White House Executive Offices with a task force of President Clinton's Council on Environmental Quality. His articles on GE food have appeared in several respected publications, including The Congressional Quarterly Researcher, The Parliament Magazine, and The Financial Times. He earned his B.A. in philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley (with high honors that included a special award for "Outstanding Accomplishment") and received his Juris Doctor from the same institution (and was elected to both the Law Review and the legal honor society).