By Robert Cohen
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About one month ago (Sunday, December 21, 2003), I filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

One day earlier, I had received a FAX from a pro-dairy friend of a letter sent to dairy farmers by Monsanto Agricultural Company. The letter alerted dairymen that Monsanto's genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rbST) would be in short supply. Monsanto wrote:

"Supplies of Posilac bovine somatotropin (rbST) are temporarily limited while necessary corrections and improvements in manufacturing are made by Monsanto's supplier."

I smelled something rotten in Monsanto-land and issued an *emergency* notice to readers of the Notmilk letter:

That next day, I called many people at FDA, attempting to get the facts. Sadly, nobody was talking. I've just learned that those armed with the knowledge of what really happened have been amused at the irony of my phone calls. On December 21, 2003, I mailed my FOIA request.

In the past, FDA has taken six months or longer to respond to FOIA requests. I've just received (in record time) a response to my December FOIA request. It seems that the St. Louis FDA field office launched an investigation as a result of a Citizen's Petition Suit that I filed four years ago.

On one hand, I am offended and angered that my complaint took four years for FDA to act. On the other hand, they finally have begun an investigation, so I am delighted.

In 1999, I assembled numerous smoking guns and sent the entire cache to FDA. I had discovered that Monsanto defrauded FDA. During their research and investigative period before approval of rbST, Monsanto invested $500 million in research. By 1990, all of that research had been submitted to FDA. From 1990 until 1994, dairy cow test herds were observed for adverse affects from rbST use. Approval was granted on February 4, 1994.

I discovered that Monsanto had made a gene transcription error during the development of their new genetic technology. Proteins are made up of amino acids. Each time that Monsanto attempted to re-create their new hormone, one amino acid, lysine, was incorrectly transcribed as a "freak" amino acid, epsilon-N-acetyllysine.

Monsanto learned about that error in 1992, two years after submitting their research. Scientists at Monsanto subsequently invested spent many millions of dollars and two years to invent a technique that would filter out rbST proteins containing the freak amino acids.

They succeeded.

The problem is that all of the research that was performed on their new drug before 1992 was conducted with an rbST formula that is different than the one that is currently on the market.

FDA ignored my request until last month.

Now, things become interesting.

An investigation has occurred. Monsanto has new friends in the White House. These friends include ex-Monsanto employees. They include names like Ashcroft and Cheney. I may be re-classified as a terrorist. Should I be sent to jail for revealing this information, please write.

You might also wish to contact the FDA investigator in charge of this case. His name is James Giefer. His phone number is 314-645-1167, extension 136.

James Giefer
Food & Drug Administration
Kansas City District
St. Louis Resident Post
12 Sunnen Drive
St. Louis, MO 63143-3813

Missouri is the "Show-Me" state. Please show Mr. Giefer that you care.

Robert Cohen