Steven Druker ’72
For more than two decades, Steven Druker has been working to uncover the truth about genetically engineered (GE) foods. Last year, those efforts resulted in a Luxembourg Peace Prize for outstanding achievement on behalf of the environment.
“My work has uncovered persistent misrepresentation of the facts regarding the risks of GE foods, not only by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but also by other regulators and many influential scientists and institutions,” Druker says. “Hopefully, the prize will bring greater attention to this unacceptable situation.”
Druker began to research GE foods in 1996 and became especially concerned with the FDA’s official presumption that they were safe and could be marketed without testing or even labeling. So he founded the Alliance for Bio-Integrity in that year and initiated a lawsuit against the FDA that forced the agency to divulge its relevant files.
According to Druker, these records revealed that the FDA had covered up its own scientists’ warnings about the risks and ignored their calls for safety testing. He says the files also refute the FDA’s claims that GE foods are generally recognized as safe and that it has been regulating them in a scientifically sound manner.
Druker chronicles the lawsuit, the history of GE foods, and a host of alleged irregularities in his acclaimed 2015 book, Altered Genes, Twisted Truth: How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government, and Systematically Deceived the Public.
In her foreword, famed primatologist and conservationist Jane Goodall calls it “without doubt one of the most important books of the last 50 years.” John Ikerd, Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Economics at the University of Missouri, says that “no one has documented other cases of irresponsible behavior by government regulators and the scientific establishment nearly as well as Druker documents this one.”
Druker earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy at UC Berkeley before attending Berkeley Law, where he was elected to the California Law Review and the Order of the Coif.
“The rigor of Berkeley Law’s program was sound preparation for exposing the extensive subterfuge that has enabled GE foods to enter—and remain on—the market,” he says.
Druker continues his endeavor to set the record straight about GE foods, and it’s no small task. As prominent biologist Philip Regal observed, his book “reveals that what’s at stake is not only the safety of our food supply, but the future of science.”