The honorifics for the passing of Taos Sen. Carlos Cisneros were entirely appropriate. Carlos was a union man, from the molybdenum mine near Questa, and this was different in a legislature full of lawyers, retired educators, and a few farmers. Union leaders are almost by definition “populists,” and Carlos stuck up for small farmers defending their access to the acequias versus efforts by big money landowners and corporations to take it from them.
The same forces, just with different corporate names and titles, have been behind the corruption of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Nothing prevents these mega-corporations from loading up the American diet with junk food, carcinogens, and sweeteners like aspartame that are metabolized as formaldehyde. Indeed, almost no one is left to protect the public from this biochemical feast called the “American Diet.”
Early in the first years of the New Millennium, I brought about legislation to create a cabinet secretary for Nutrition and Consumer Protection. Carlos was the first sponsor thereof, later followed by Rep. Max Coll of Santa Fe, then- Senate President Pro Tem Ben Altamirano, and finally by Albuquerque Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino. All but Ortiz y Pino have passed on.
What killed each and every effort to pass this legislation? Corporate lobbyists from Coca-Cola, the restaurateurs’ association, the soft drink association, etc., all lined up out the door to testify that they didn’t like these bills.
Even one health secretary (under Bill Richardson) sent his minions to oppose such bills in committee, as if there were some kind of turf war going on, even with a scaled-down concept like a Nutrition Council rather than a full-scale cabinet secretary.
Our present governor supported that concept in a strong letter back when Altamirano was the bill sponsor, when during her time as New Mexico secretary of health.
Despite the verdicts from unanimous federal juries in the Bay Area that Roundup/glyphosate is a severe carcinogen and that Bayer/Monsanto are liable for their deceptive trade practices, and even with dozens of nations banning it internationally, the EPA and the FDA still allow Roundup to be consumed by Americans. This is nothing short of genocide, pure and simple.
A New Mexico Nutrition Council could start to do the job the health department bureaucrats in all 50 states are not doing at all, by issuing non-binding warnings, especially to school districts, about which neither the FDA or the Environmental Protection Agency seem to have the slightest concept. At the national level, the EPA and the FDA are powerless to do anything except rubber stamp the genocidal actions of these corporations.
In this opinion/editorial, I am calling upon Gov. Lujan Grisham to put the power of her office behind such legislation in the coming legislative session.
Remember that such would be just a start to what needs to be done.
Nationally, our throwing more billions at cancer research and Alzheimer’s research doesn’t begin to examine the CAUSES of such afflictions, which any fool can see is tied directly to our diet in our nation and in our state.
The battle to protect New Mexico consumers, especially children, goes on, from the early days when Sen. Carlos Cisneros sponsored the first such legislation. There were pediatricians, oncologists, toxicologists, internists, and top New Mexico educators who were willing to serve in this capacity 18 years ago, and there are even more now who recognize the medical and epidemiological emergencies that are staring us in the face.
Stephen Fox is a Santa Fe art dealer.