The FDA has Gone Insane

They have unlimited power and access to the military. What could possibly go wrong?
You all know that one person who listens to the bunnies in their head before making any decision. You’ll find them in supermarkets carefully perusing the Weekly World News for facts as they check their horoscope before embarking on any errand. They will often, in that cute way they have that borders on – yet misses wildly – lucidity, make declarations that will flatly contradict anything they said seconds ago. And, should you be silly enough to point that out they will immediately proclaim “so you’re one of them too.” In the pantheon of disturbia they call minds, everything they say is a deft syllogism and everything they think makes sense. The fact they are wrong on all counts somehow manages to elude them. But, for the most part, these people are harmless. They just want to be left to their talking bunnies and live out their days in solitude. For the most part. However, every now and then one of them sneaks through and manages to ensconce themselves in some position of authority. Usually as a counter clerk at a video store but, sometimes, as head of the FDA. Or very close to head of the FDA.

For those of you new to this country the FDA is the Food and Drug Administration. It has wide powers and answers only to itself and, on occasion, the U.S. Congress. It’s job is to keep food safe for people to eat. As I noted yesterday, it does a lousy job of that. In fact, of all the industrialized nations, we rank near the bottom when it comes to food safety. At this point we may as well list uranium as a food group and be done with it.

However, not content to merely be the laughing stock of the world when it comes to health and safety, my buddy Mike Flores notes that the FDA kicked it up a notch by declaring that walnuts are an illegal drug.

No, I am not high. And neither are the people at The New American.

Seen any walnuts in your medicine cabinet lately? According to the Food and Drug Administration, that is precisely where you should find them. Because Diamond Foods made truthful claims about the health benefits of consuming walnuts that the FDA didn’t approve, it sent the company a letter declaring, “Your walnut products are drugs” — and “new drugs” at that — and, therefore, “they may not legally be marketed … in the United States without an approved new drug application.” The agency even threatened Diamond with “seizure” if it failed to comply.

Diamond’s transgression was to make “financial investments to educate the public and supply them with walnuts,” as William Faloon of Life Extension magazine put it. On its website and packaging, the company stated that the omega-3 fatty acids found in walnuts have been shown to have certain health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and some types of cancer. These claims, Faloon notes, are well supported by scientific research: “Life Extension has published 57 articles that describe the health benefits of walnuts”; and “The US National Library of Medicine database contains no fewer than 35 peer-reviewed published papers supporting a claim that ingesting walnuts improves vascular health and may reduce heart attack risk.”

This evidence was apparently not good enough for the FDA, which told Diamond that its walnuts were “misbranded” because the “product bears health claims that are not authorized by the FDA.”

The FDA’s letter continues: “We have determined that your walnut products are promoted for conditions that cause them to be drugs because these products are intended for use in the prevention, mitigation, and treatment of disease.” Furthermore, the products are also “misbranded” because they “are offered for conditions that are not amenable to self-diagnosis and treatment by individuals who are not medical practitioners; therefore, adequate directions for use cannot be written so that a layperson can use these drugs safely for their intended purposes.” Who knew you had to have directions to eat walnuts?

“The FDA’s language,” Faloon writes, “resembles that of an out-of-control police state where tyranny [reigns] over rationality.” He adds:

This kind of bureaucratic tyranny sends a strong signal to the food industry not to innovate in a way that informs the public about foods that protect against disease. While consumers increasingly reach for healthier dietary choices, the federal government wants to deny food companies the ability to convey findings from scientific studies about their products.

Walnuts aren’t the only food whose health benefits the FDA has tried to suppress. Producers of pomegranate juice and green tea, among others, have felt the bureaucrats’ wrath whenever they have suggested that their products are good for people.

Meanwhile, Faloon points out, foods that have little to no redeeming value are advertised endlessly, often with dubious health claims attached. For example, Frito-Lay is permitted to make all kinds of claims about its fat-laden, fried products, including that Lay’s potato chips are “heart healthy.” Faloon concludes that “the FDA obviously does not want the public to discover that they can reduce their risk of age-related disease by consuming healthy foods. They prefer consumers only learn about mass-marketed garbage foods that shorten life span by increasing degenerative disease risk.”

Faloon thinks he knows why this is the case. First, by stifling competition from makers of more healthful alternatives, junk food manufacturers, who he says “heavily lobb[y]” the federal government for favorable treatment, will rake in ever greater profits. Second, by making it less likely that Americans will consume healthful foods, big pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers stand to gain by selling more “expensive cardiac drugs, stents, and coronary bypass procedures” to those made ill by their diets.

But people are starting to fight back against the FDA’s tactics. “The makers of pomegranate juice, for example, have sued the FTC for censoring their First Amendment right to communicate scientific information to the public,” Faloon reports. Congress is also getting into the act with a bill, the Free Speech About Science Act (H.R. 1364), that, Faloon writes, “protects basic free speech rights, ends censorship of science, and enables the natural health products community to share peer-reviewed scientific findings with the public.”

That sounds like it was written by the people who talk to their inner bunnies but it wasn’t. Walnuts are being threatened by the FDA. Your granny’s fruitcake could become contraband. Not to mention your favorite ice cream toppings could be listed as a toxic threat. You could do hard time for that pecan pie.

I know, I know, that sounds nuts – if you’ll pardon the phrase – but it is the sanest thing the FDA’s done recently.

No, I didn’t write that wrong. They recently raided an elderberry plant and seized its wanton elderberry juice.

Until just now you’d never given a second thought to elderberry juice. Now you have to have some.

Wyldewood Cellars, a Kansas-based producer and distributor of elderberry juice, is the latest raid target of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which recently sent US marshals to the company’s winery in Mulvane to confiscate the “unapproved drug.” According to the rogue agency, Wyldewood had violated provisions in the US Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) that restrict health claims for food items, warranting the sudden invasion.

According to Barry Grissom, US Attorney for Kansas, the FDA sent a warning letter to Wyldewood in 2006 to remove or modify certain health claims that it said were in violation of federal law, but the company did not comply. FDA officials claim that Wyldewood continued to make unapproved claims, and that seizing the product was the next step.

However, John Brewer, co-founder of Wyldewood, says that after receiving the initial FDA warning letter, his company hired a consultant familiar with FDA regulations to help his company reword their product descriptions. After making the appropriate changes, and clarifying that the elderberry products in question were supplements, Brewer says his company had done what it needed to in order to be in compliance.

“We haven’t heard anything from (the FDA) since,” he told reporters, noting that following the changes up until the raid, the FDA had ceased communicating with Wyldewood. “They’ve been in our facility multiple times. It’s like, ‘C’mon guys, we changed our label, we changed everything we thought we were supposed to do.’ And then they show up and do this. (Supplements) seems to be one of their hot buttons these days.”

This tactic, of course, has become all too common in recent years. A company receives a warning letter from the FDA, makes the appropriate changes, never hears anything further from the FDA, and out of nowhere gets raided. Such actions on behalf of the FDA are ultimately unwarranted and illegal, and the offended parties have every right to sue the agency for damages.

“You think you are doing things correctly, and there hasn’t been any word, and all of a sudden you get this,” said Brewer to The Kansas City Star.

To learn more about the legitimate health benefits of elderberry, visit:

While they were at it they also seized about 14% of the nation’s orange juice and the okayed giving dangerous drugs to feed animals.

Don’t you feel safer already?

My personal favorite move by the FDA is their legalizing drugs for asthmatics that cause more fatalities than asthma alone.

Before you get all Obama this or Obama that or even Bush this or Bush that, the FDA has been like this since around 1985. That was when President Reagan greatly expanded their scope. I believe that he did it with the best of intentions. Advances in science were far outpacing the government’s ability to keep up with them and regulation was painfully spotty, if it existed at all.

But, clearly, all that power has gone to their head. That would be the same head that is obviously housing the aforementioned talking bunnies. I do not blame the president for this mess but I wouldn’t mind if he took a moment out of his busy day to walk down the hall and bitch-slap a few of these fools and then make them fix this mess.


Listen to Bill McCormick on WBIG AM 1280, every Friday morning around 9:10!

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