Grocery giant switching to milk free of synthetic hormones (5/8/2007)

1.Grocery giant switching to milk free of synthetic hormones
2.Monsanto seeks $100M from Sandoz


1.Grocery giant switching to milk free of synthetic hormones
The Associated Press, August 5 2007

ST. LOUIS - One of the nation's largest retail grocery chains has announced plans to switch to milk free of synthetic [genetically engineered] hormones.

The announcement Wednesday from Kroger Co. is another blow to Monsanto Co., which already had been reducing inventory of its milk production-boosting hormone as Starbucks Coffee Co. and other retailers rejected it.

Monsanto markets the hormone rBST, or recombinant bovine somatotropin, under the brand name Posilac. The Food and Drug Administration and the company insist the hormone is safe.

Kroger said consumer preference prompted its decision. The retailer began moving toward rBST-free milk this year in Louisiana and Texas stores. By February, Kroger plans to sell only milk certified as free of synthetic hormones at the 2,458 stores it operates in 31 states


2.Monsanto seeks $100M from Sandoz
St. Louis Business Journal, August 3 2007

Monsanto Co. said Friday that it is seeking to recover "in excess" of $100 million in damages from pharmaceutical company Novartis AG's Sandoz subsidiary.

In a release, Monsanto officials said the firm filed an arbitration claim against Sandoz in an effort to recover damages it says were caused by "Sandoz's inadequate quality assurance program and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issuance of a warning letter to Sandoz's pharmaceutical facility in Kundl, Austria, which contracted to supply Monsanto's dairy product, POSILAC bovine somatotropin."

POSILAC, or bovine somatotropin, is a protein hormone used to enhance milk production in cows.

The arbitration complaint said that as a direct result of Sandoz's quality assurance failures, it did not fulfill its contractual supply agreements and Monsanto suffered extensive financial loss.

In November 2003, the FDA inspected the Sandoz manufacturing facility in Kundl, Austria, and found problems with the facility and systems that led to the issuance of an FDA warning letter. The process of making necessary changes and corrections addressed quality assurance, but required shut-downs and limited manufacturing capabilities at the Sandoz plant. The FDA conducted a follow-up regulatory inspection in 2006 and lifted its warning letter in August 2006.

St. Louis-based Monsanto Co. develops insect- and herbicide-resistant crops and other agricultural products.

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