by Rich Murray
December 24, 2002

from Rense Website



Welcome To The Revolving Door...

The "revolving door" - the interplay of personnel that assists the industrial alignment of public service and regulatory authorities - has led to key figures at both the US's FDA and EPA having held important positions at Monsanto, or else doing so shortly after their biotech related regulatory work for the government agency.

An article in The Ecologist's famous 'Monsanto Files' by Jennifer Ferrara, 'Revolving Doors - Monsanto and the Regulators', looked in detail at this issue.

As an instance, Ferrara noted the FDA's approval of Monsanto's genetically engineered cattle drug rBGH which failed to gain approval in either Europe or Canada despite intense lobbying and accusations of malpractice:

"Michael R. Taylor, the FDA's deputy commissioner for policy, wrote the FDA's rBGH labeling guidelines.


The guidelines, announced in February 1994, virtually prohibited dairy corporations from making any real distinction between products produced with and without rBGH.


To keep rBGH-milk from being "stigmatized" in the marketplace, the FDA announced that labels on non-rBGH products must state that there is no difference between rBGH and the naturally occurring hormone.

In March 1994, Taylor was publicly exposed as a former lawyer for the Monsanto corporation for seven years.


While working for Monsanto, Taylor had prepared a memo for the company as to whether or not it would be constitutional for states to erect labeling laws concerning rBGH dairy products. In other words Taylor helped Monsanto figure out whether or not the corporation could sue states or companies that wanted to tell the public that their products were free of Monsanto's drug.

Taylor wasn't the only FDA official involved in rBGI-1 policy who had worked for Monsanto. Margaret Miller, deputy director of the FDA's Office of New Animal Drugs was a former Monsanto research scientist who had worked on Monsanto's rBGH safety studies up until 1989.


Suzanne Sechen was a primary reviewer for rBGH in the Office of New Animal Drugs between 1988 and 1990.


Before coming to the FDA, she had done research for several Monsanto-funded rBGH studies as a graduate student at Cornell University. Her professor was one of Monsanto's university consultants and a known rBGH promoter. *

Remarkably, the GAO determined in a 1994 investigation that these officials' former association with the Monsanto corporation did not pose a conflict of interest.


But for those concerned about the health and environmental hazards of genetic engineering, the revolving door between the biotechnology industry and federal regulating agencies is a serious cause for concern."

The following is taken from the Edmonds Institute:

  • David W. Beier - former head of Government Affairs for Genentech, Inc... chief domestic policy advisor to Al Gore when he was Vice President.

  • Linda J. Fisher - former Assistant Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Pollution Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances... now Vice President of Government and Public Affairs for Monsanto Corporation.

  • Michael A. Friedman, M.D - former acting commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Department of Health and Human Services... now senior vice-president for clinical affairs at G. D. Searle & Co., a pharmaceutical division of Monsanto Corporation.

  • L. Val Giddings - former biotechnology regulator and (biosafety) negotiator at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA/APHIS)... now Vice President for Food & Agriculture of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO).

  • Marcia Hale - former assistant to the President of the United States and director for intergovernmental affairs... now Director of International Government Affairs for Monsanto Corporation.

  • Michael (Mickey) Kantor - former Secretary of the United States Department of Commerce and former Trade Representative of the United States... now member of the board of directors of Monsanto Corporation.

  • Josh King - former director of production for White House events. . . now director of global communication in the Washington, D.C. office of Monsanto Corporation.

  • Terry Medley - former administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the United States Department of Agriculture, former chair and vice-chair of the United States Department of Agriculture Biotechnology Council, former member of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) food advisory committee... and now Director of Regulatory and External Affairs of DuPont Corporation's Agricultural Enterprise.

  • Margaret Miller - former chemical laboratory supervisor for Monsanto... now Deputy Director of Human Food Safety and Consultative Services, New Animal Drug Evaluation Office, Center for Veterinary Medicine in the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). *

  • Michael Phillips - recently with the National Academy of Science Board on Agriculture . . . now head of regulatory affairs for the Biotechnology Industry Organization.

  • William D. Ruckelshaus - former chief administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA)... now (and for the past 12 years) a member of the board of directors of Monsanto Corporation.

  • Michael Taylor - former legal advisor to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)'s Bureau of Medical Devices and Bureau of Foods, later executive assistant to the Commissioner of the FDA... still later a partner at the law firm of King & Spaulding where he supervised a nine-lawyer group whose clients included Monsanto Agricultural Company... still later Deputy Commissioner for Policy at the United States Food and Drug Administration... and later with the law firm of King & Spaulding... now head of the Washington, D.C. office of Monsanto Corporation. *

  • Lidia Watrud - former microbial biotechnology researcher at Monsanto Corporation in St. Louis, Missouri... now with the United States Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Effects Laboratory, Western Ecology Division.

  • Jack Watson - former chief of staff to the President of the United States, Jimmy Carter... now a staff lawyer with Monsanto Corporation in Washington, D.C.

  • Clayton K. Yeutter - former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, former U.S. Trade Representative (who led the U.S. team in negotiating the U.S. Canada Free Trade Agreement and helped launch the Uruguay Round of the GATT negotiations), now a member of the board of directors of Mycogen Corporation, whose majority owner is Dow AgroSciences, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company.

  • Larry Zeph - former biologist in the Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)..., now Regulatory Science Manager at Pioneer Hi-Bred International.


    *  Margaret Miller, Michael Taylor, and Suzanne Sechen (an FDA "primary reviewer for all rbST and other dairy drug production applications" ) were the subjects of a U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) investigation in 1994 for their role in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's approval of Posilac, Monsanto Corporation's formulation of recombinant bovine growth hormone (rbST or rBGH).


    The GAO Office found "no conflicting financial interests with respect to the drug's approval" and only "one minor deviation from now superseded FDA regulations".

    (Quotations are from the 1994 GAO report)




"When people are trying to kill you and when they attack because they hate freedom, other disputes from Frankenfood to bananas and even important issues like the environment suddenly look a bit different."

Condoleezza Rice

George Bush's National Security Adviser













The Revolving Door

-   FDA and the Monsanto Company   -
by Edward Bonnette

February 11, 2013

from IndependentVoterNetwork Website





According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), its responsibilities include,

“[p]rotecting the public health by assuring that foods are safe, wholesome, sanitary and properly labeled.”

This responsibility entails regulating a large number of companies producing this nation’s food, making appointments to the high-level positions within the agency very important.


Most high-level FDA employees have a background in either medicine or law, but one of the largest private-sector sources is the Monsanto Company. Over the past decades, at least seven high-ranking employees in the FDA have an employment history with the Monsanto Company.


Connections have led many to speculate whether any conflicts of interest exist within this revolving door between the big food companies and the department charged with regulating them.


At the forefront of this controversy is Michael R. Taylor, currently the deputy commissioner of the Office of Foods.


He was also the deputy commissioner for Policy within the FDA in the mid ’90s. However, between that position and his current FDA position, Mr. Taylor was employed by Monsanto as Vice President of Public Policy.


During his employment with Monsanto, the company was developing rBGH, a type of beef growth hormone. Mr. Taylor advised the company on the possible legal implications of using the hormone on cattle that could reach beef markets for human consumption.


However, when Taylor left Monsanto for the FDA, he became one of the main authorities behind the FDA’s rBGH labeling guidelines, posing potential conflicts of interest.


Also tied up in the rBGH debacle are Margaret Miller and Susan Sechen. Miller, the deputy director of the Office of New Animal Drugs at the FDA, and a former Monsanto scientist, helped develop rBGH. Sechen, a data reviewer in Miller’s department, worked as a graduate student on some of the initial bovine drug studies.


These studies were conducted at Cornell University and were financed by none other than Monsanto.


Other Monsanto alumni include,

  • Arthur Hayes, commissioner of the FDA from 1981 to 1983, and consultant to Searle’s public relations firm, which later merged with Monsanto.


  • Michael A. Friedman, former acting commissioner of the FDA, later went on to become senior Vice President for Clinical Affairs at Searle, which is now a pharmaceutical division of Monsanto. 


  • Virginia Weldon only became a member of the FDA’s Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee, after retiring as Vice President for Public Policy at Monsanto.

Well aware of its accused ‘revolving door’ connection with the FDA and other government agencies, Monsanto has issued several press releases denying collusion with the government.


In fact, it posted on its official website that collusion theories relating to these agencies, including the FDA,

"ignore the simple truth that ."

Monsanto’s statements help shed light on the balancing act regularly occurring on Capitol Hill when appointments to these top agency positions arise.


The importance of the food industry cannot be overstated and, therefore, the pending question remains:

Do Americans want industry insiders regulating it, or those from the academic realm?