Monsanto Attempts Damage Control Over it's Controversial Bovine Growth Hormone
Safeway, Starsmuck's, Dean Foods and Walmart are all going rBGH free while Monsanto squirms.
rBGH is on its way out of our food supply, let's keep up the pressure.
Monsanto cites milk tests, says consumers being misled
Thu Jan 25, 2007 6:08pm ET146
By Carey Gillam
KANSAS CITY, Mo., Jan 25 (Reuters) - Monsanto Co. (MON.N: Quote, Profile , Research)
announced on Thursday a study it said found consumers were being misled by claims
that milk from cows not treated with Monsanto's biotech hormone supplement Posilac
is safer or healthier than other milk.
Monsanto's announcement comes after Starbucks Corp. (SBUX.O: Quote, Profile ,
Research) said this month it would shift all its dairy needs to hormone-free milk
products. The Safeway (SWY.N: Quote, Profile , Research) grocery chain also said
this month it will reduce use of milk from hormone-supplemented dairy cows.
"Marketing claims that imply differences are unsupported by the scientific data,"
said John Vicini, lead dairy scientist for Monsanto, in a statement.
Monsanto said it had 213 samples from 95 milk brands collected from 48 states
analyzed, using third-party testing facilities and an independent auditing firm. The
study's results will be submitted to a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
The analysis found no difference in concentrations of Posilac bovine somatotropin
(bST), insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), progesterone or nutrients in
conventionally produced milk and conventionally produced milk labeled as coming from
cows not supplemented with Posilac, Monsanto said. No antibiotic residues were found
in any samples, it added.
Not all conventionally produced milk comes from cows given the Posilac hormone
supplement, also known as rbST or rBGH.
Indeed, cows in only about one-third of the dairy herds in the United States are
given the supplement.
Monsanto did not determine if any of the milk used in the comparisons actually came
from cows that received the hormone, according to Monsanto spokesman Andrew
Skeptics said that could skew results.
"To pull milk off the shelves without even knowing the origin of the milk or knowing
whether the cows were treated with Posilac or not and call it a scientific study is
laughable," said Center for Food Safety spokesman Charles Margulis.
Monsanto has been marketing Posilac since 1994 to dairy farmers and says cows given
the supplement produce an average of 10 pounds more milk per day. The company says
the hormone supplements are safe for the animals and for people who drink the milk
that comes from these cows.
But critics say the hormone causes health problems in the dairy cows and can cause
problems in people. Lately, a number of dairy producers and food industry players,
including Dean Foods Co. (DF.N: Quote, Profile , Research), the nation's largest
milk processor and distributor, have begun demanding rbST-free milk.
Jeffrey Smith, director of the Institute for Responsible Technology and author of a
book on genetically modified foods, said numerous scientific studies back concerns
about unhealthy distinctions in milk from cows given the hormone supplements.
"There is a clear difference in the milk, including overwhelming evidence of
increased levels of IGF-1 verified by numerous studies," Smith said.
Increased levels of IGF-1 in humans is considered a potential cause of some cancers,
according to Samuel Epstein, a physician and chairman of the Cancer Prevention
Epstein also said there was extensive scientific evidence of potential health
problems associated with the use of Posilac in dairy cows.
"There are a wide range of demonstrable differences," said Epstein. "There is
substantial evidence of major elevations in growth hormones in milk...associated
with major increased risks of breast, colon and prostate cancers, and the risks of
some of these extend to seven-fold. The evidence for this has been laid out in very
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