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August 31st, 2007

Got rBGH-free Milk?

This week there is even more good news in the campaign to Hold the Hormones – the Federal Trade Commission rejected a request from the corporate behemoth Monsanto Co. to prevent dairy companies from advertising their milk products as hormone-free.

Monsanto, the maker of Posilac or rBGH, urged the FTC to restrict labeling milk “rBGH-free”, claiming that the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of rBGH back in 1993.  Monsanto’s earlier objections to labeling already resulted in the FDA-required label disclaimer below.

However, there are ongoing questions about links between the Monsato-produced hormone and cancer in humans. As a result, most industrialized countries in the world have banned the hormone, including Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and all 27 countries in the European Union.  Although rBGH is not banned in the United States, the majority of American consumers want clear labeling for rBGH-free milk. In a poll conducted earlier this year for Food & Water Watch, 80% of consumers want milk from cows not treated with the hormone to be labeled‚ rBGH-free”. Some companies have started listening to consumers.

Several large dairy product companies and many small ones no longer accept milk from cows treated with rBGH, citing increased consumer demand for hormone-free dairy products. Consumers are starting to incorporate ethical, environmental, and health considerations in their purchasing decisions and need accurate information – both in advertising and labeling – to make informed choices for themselves and their families.

– Erin Greenfield

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