Dr. Mehmet Oz fired back at a group of 10 physicians who had asked Columbia University to fire him, citing his history of weight loss and health quackery. On the April 23 episode of the Dr. Oz Show, Dr. Oz slammed his critics for having their own agenda, which is to promote the proliferation of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) in our food system.
Dr. Oz has repeatedly encouraged his audience to avoid GMOs, citing research linking them to cancer, birth defects, accelerated aging, infertility, and resistance to antibiotics.
GMOs are genetically engineered vegetables, fruits and seeds that have been bred to be more nutritious, more resistant to insects, and cheaper to produce. While GMOs have so far been deemed safe, there have been no studies tracking the long-term health risks of consuming GMOs.
Dr. Oz is outraged that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn’t require food manufacturers to label foods made from GMOs, like they do in Australia, France and Japan.
“The food industry is spending millions to keep those labels out of the supermarkets,” Dr. Oz said on his show in February 2014. “You have a right to know what is in your food.”
The controversy erupted April 16, after 10 physicians from around the country sent a letter to Dr. Lee Goldman, dean of Columbia Medical School, saying Dr. Oz’s “egregious lack of integrity” makes him unfit to remain on the faculty of the Ivy League institution.
“Dr. Oz has repeatedly shown disdain for science and for evidence-based medicine, as well as baseless and relentless opposition to the genetic engineering of food crops,” read the letter. “Worst of all, he has manifested an egregious lack of integrity by promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain.”
Dr. Henry I. Miller of Stanford University told CBS News Dr. Oz is “a menace to public health” who should not be on the faculty of a prestigious medical institution.
“He’s been so wrong and so misleading and so unconstructive and anti-social on that subject, I thought enough is enough,” said Dr. Miller. “He’s a quack and a fake and a charlatan.”
Dr. Oz: One of My Critics Is a Medicaid Fraudster
In response, Dr. Oz wrote a Time magazine op-ed piece April 23, saying he had Googled several of the physicians and discovered they had checkered pasts of their own.
“The lead author, Henry I. Miller, appears to have a history as a pro-biotech scientist, and was mentioned in early tobacco-industry litigation as a potential ally to industry,” wrote Dr. Oz. “He also furthered the battle in California to block GMO labeling — a cause I have been vocal about supporting.”
Dr. Oz pointed out that another of the signees was guilty of Medicaid fraud and now gets hefty donations to promote the cause of Big Tobacco and Big Food. “Another of the letter signees, Gilbert Ross, was found guilty after trial of 13 counts of fraud related to Medicaid,” Dr. Oz wrote.
“He is now executive director of American Council on Science and Health, a group that has reportedly received donations from big tobacco and food and agribusiness companies, among others. Another four of the 10 authors are also linked to this organization.”
Dr. Oz said he sincerely tries to offer health advice that he believes will help his audience, and said he will not be silenced by a few critics with questionable agendas and dubious pasts.
“I know I’ve irritated some potential allies in our quest to make America healthy,” said Dr. Oz. “No matter our disagreements, freedom of speech is the most fundamental right we have as Americans. And these 10 doctors are trying to silence that right. So I vow to you right here and right now: we will not be silenced, we will not give in.”