FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show The Deputy Commissioner Of The FDA?

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims to show the current deputy commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Verdict: Misleading

The image shows Michael R. Taylor, who served as the FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine from 2010 to 2016, years after working as an executive for Monsanto. He no longer works at the FDA.

Fact Check:

The Facebook post shows a screen grab of tweet purportedly from musician Kid Rock claiming that the current deputy commissioner of the FDA was once the vice president of the agribusiness company Monsanto. However, the man pictured in the screen grabbed tweet, Taylor, is not the FDA’s current deputy commissioner.

While Taylor did, according to a 2016 FDA press release, serve as the FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine from 2010 to 2016, he never served as the principal deputy commissioner, according to FDA records. The principal deputy commissioner position is vacant at the time of publication, according to the FDA’s leadership profile webpage.

Frank Yiannas currently holds Taylor’s former position, which now goes by the title deputy commissioner for food policy and response, according to The National Law Review. (RELATED: Did Mississippi, Alabama And Louisiana Revoke CNN’s Broadcasting License?)

As the screen grabbed tweet suggests, Taylor previously worked for Monsanto, serving as the vice president of Public Policy from 1998 to 2001, according to The Washington Post. Several activists opposed his appointment to the FDA because of his previous work at Monsanto, the outlet reported.

Monsanto was acquired by Bayer in 2018. Bayer said in June 2020 that it would pay $8.8 billion to $9.6 billion “to resolve the current Roundup™ litigation” and $1.25 billion “to support a separate class agreement to address potential future litigation” inherited through its Monsanto acquisition, according to a press release. Thousands of lawsuits have alleged Monsanto’s weed-killing product Roundup causes cancer, while Bayer has refuted that allegation, the Associated Press reported. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency concluded in January 2020 that “there are no risks of concern to human health” when glyphosate, a key ingredient in Roundup, is “used according to the label.”

Taylor currently serves as a Meridian Institute senior fellow and is on the board of directors for the consumer advocacy organization Stop Foodborne Illness.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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