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Archive for August 13th, 2007

(rBST) Free Milk

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In a press release dated 01 August 2007, Ohio based Kroger states that by early 2008 it will phase out milk from cows that have been injected with the growth hormone rBST. Kroger will require that it’s milk suppliers certify that their cows are rBST free.

rBST (recombinant bovine growth hormone) is a synthetic hormone designed to artificially maintain a cow’s milk production. While Monsanto, the largest producer of rBST, claims the synthetic drug is safe, studies show that cows injected with rBST have a 25% greater risk of clinical mastitis (requiring antibacterial injections to cure) and a 40% increase in the likelihood of being unable to conceive. Monsanto states that there is no scientific difference between milk from treated versus untreated cattle.

rBST increases IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor) in cattle, which Monsanto states, is the “only” difference in the milk from cows treated with the synthetic chemical.

Human studies show that elevated IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor) levels in humans are associated with breast cancer, prostate cancer and colorectal cancer, though IGF-1 is normal in the growth of humans.

Interesting is the fact that Monsanto opposes the labeling of milk as “rBST free” stating that it does not change the nutrition, taste or quality of the milk. This may be true. Cows that eat grass have milk that tastes different than does milk from cows that eat ground up animals.

None the less, Kroger’s decision is about market demand. Certainly Kroger is not producing claims one way or the other. Consumer choice is driving the decision and in a market driven society, they are doing what any other retailer would do. Adjust their supplies.

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