03 March 2007

FDA Censorship Reaches New Heights of Absurdity

This report would be funny if it wasn't about the institution that is supposed to be promoting your health, yet does more to support VIOXX than it does to support peer reviewed evidence of substantial health benefit. The irony of this is that it is as bad for business as it is for the American people. This kind of PR could reduce drug company stock prices.

FDA Threatens To Raid Cherry Orchards
William Faloon, LE Magazine, March 2007

As Americans struggle to eat a healthier diet, the FDA has taken draconian steps to suppress information about foods that reduce disease risk.

While various agencies of the federal government encourage us to eat more fruits and vegetables, the FDA has issued an edict that precludes cherry companies from posting scientific data on their websites. This censorship of published peer-reviewed studies denies consumers access to information that could be used to make wiser food choices...

On October 17, 2005, the FDA banned information about cherries’ health benefits from appearing on websites. The FDA sent warning letters to 29 companies that market cherry products. In these letters, the FDA ordered the companies to stop publicizing scientific data about cherries. According to the FDA, when cherry companies disseminate this information, the cherries become unapproved drugs subject to seizure. The FDA warns that if those involved in cherry trafficking continue to inform consumers about these scientific studies, criminal prosecutions will ensue...

Do Cherries Prevent Cancer?

In a warning letter to Friske Orchards of Ellsworth, MI, the FDA recites the following information contained on this orchard’s website:

“Tart cherries may reduce the risk of colon cancer because of the anthocyanins and cyanidin contained in the cherry.”

The FDA goes on to say in its warning letter:

“These claims cause your product to be a drug as defined in section 201(g) . . . Because this product is not generally recognized as safe and effective when used as labeled, it is also defined as a new drug in section 201(p) . . . Under section 505 of the Act (21 USC 355), a new drug may not be legally marketed in the United States without an approved New Drug Application . . .”

Interestingly, the FDA is not denying the veracity of this information. Instead, it insists that a new drug application has to be approved before the public can be informed about the scientific data supporting cherries. The FDA also asserts, without any basis, that cherries “have not been recognized as safe and effective when used as labeled.” According to the FDA’s interpretation of the law, cherry growers are engaged in criminal conduct by relaying findings that have been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Whether you or other Americans develop cancer does not appear to be a consideration ...