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Food Safety News
April 3rd, 2006

Press Release: Consumers Tell Starbucks to Buy Better Milk

On Heels of Release of “The Meatrix 2: Revolting,” New Campaign Targets #1 Coffee Retailer to Go rBGH-Free

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Citing evidence of harm to dairy cows and questions about human health impacts, Food & Water Watch today launched a campaign to ask Starbucks to stop buying milk made with recombinant bovine growth hormone, commonly called rBGH. In urging the Seattle-based coffee leader to “do the right thing,” the group will encourage consumers to ask Starbucks to make their favorite coffee drinks with rBGH-free milk.

The artificial hormone is banned from use in many countries including all 25 in the European Union, Canada and Japan. When cows are injected with rBGH to increase milk production, the hormone also boosts another hormone called IGF-1 in the cow and subsequently in the cow’s milk. Too much IFG-1 in humans has been linked to increased rates of colon, breast, and prostate cancer.

“Starbucks has immense buying power in the marketplace and promotes itself as socially responsible, so we encourage the company to become a trendsetter by using rBGH-free milk,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “Demand breeds supply; if Starbucks does it, so will many more.”

Numerous companies are requiring their milk suppliers to be rBGH-free, including Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Tillamook County Creamery Association cheese. Additionally, certified organic milk cannot be produced with rBGH. As a major milk purchaser, a decision by Starbucks to go rBGH-free would send a strong signal to the dairy industry.

The new campaign was announced in conjunction with the long-awaited release of the sequel to the popular spoof on the Matrix film trilogy called “The Meatrix.” The animated video reveals the horrors of factory farms through the eyes of Moopheus the cow and Leo the pig. The sequel, called Meatrix 2: Revolting, released March 30, focuses on large corporate dairy farms that inject their cows with rBGH to increase production of milk and earn higher profits at the expense of the cows well-being as well as consumers health.

“This is a perfect fit: We urge people to watch the new Meatrix and take action afterwards by telling Starbucks to become an industry leader,” said Hauter. “It’s an easy way to make a difference in your daily life.”

Food & Water Watch works to ensure the food, water and fish we consume is safe, accessible and sustainable. So we can all enjoy and trust in what we eat and drink, we help people take charge of where their food comes from, keep clean, affordable, public tap water flowing freely to our homes, protect the environmental quality of oceans, force government to do its job protecting citizens, and educate about the importance of keeping shared resources under public control.