Tell the Governors to label rBGH-Free milk! (15/12/2007)

Here's are 2 actions happening in the U.S.

1.'Our right to know' in Ohio - Sierra Club
2.Tell the Governors to label rBGH-Free milk! - Food and Water Watch


Regulators in the state of Ohio are considering banning rBGH free labeling. Anyone can help, as the outcome may effect the entire country.

Laurel Hopwood, Sierra Club Chair, Genetic Engineering Committee

Please contact:

Governor Ted Strickland
Riffe Center, 30th Floor
77 South High Street
Columbus, OH 43215-6108

Mr. Robert Boggs
Director, Department of Agriculture
8995 East Main Street
Reynoldsburg, OH 43068

Talking points:

Numerous consumers, dairy farmers, and public health organizations oppose the use of artificial hormones used in dairy products. Yet Ohio regulators may prohibit our right to know and not allow dairy farmers to label 'no synthetic hormones' or 'from cows not treated with rBGH.' This would be a precedent-setting label regulation.

Bovine growth hormone is a normal product of the pituitary gland of cows. However, Monsanto's recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) is not identical to the cow's natural growth hormone. The Monsanto product, called Posilac, is the cow's natural hormone with an extra amino acid. This artificially altered hormone is a genetically manipulated, potent variant of the natural growth hormone produced by cows.

When the cow is injected with rBGH, she produces higher levels of the insulin growth factor, commonly known as IGF-1. When we drink milk from rBGH injected cows, we drink more IGF-1. Elevated IGF-1 levels are implicated with increased risks of breast, prostate, and colon cancers.

Monsanto's Posilac insert states, 'Cows injected with Posilac are at an increased risk for clinical mastitis.' The Posilac insert also admits that it's associated with 'increases in somatic cell counts.' In layman terms, somatic cell counts are another name for pus in milk. What happens when cows get mastitis? Farmers give them antibiotics, which are readily available because many are sold without prescription at farm supply stores. It's hard to miss news stories about the rise of bacteria that are developing resistance to common antibiotics, which are not only becoming prevalent in hospitals and nursing homes, but also in schools and the general community.

Milk from rBGH injected cows are likely to feature more pus from infected cows' udders, more antibiotics given to cows to treat those infections, and more of IGF-1, a tumor-promoting chemical which is implicated in breast, colon and prostate cancers. In return for accepting increased pus, more antibiotics, and a tumor-promoting chemical in their glass of milk, what benefits will consumer's get? Zero.

*Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and dozens of European countries banned the use of rBGH.

*The United Nations' main food safety body, Codex Alimentarius, twice refused to affirm its safety.

*Michael Hansen, Ph.D., is a senior scientist at Consumers Union, a highly reputable source of information for the public. Dr. Hansen reported that the FDA failed to do a full toxicological assessment before approving rBGH.

*Dr. Samuel Epstein, University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health professor and author of 260 scientific publications, is an internationally recognized authority on the causes of cancer. He recently filed a petition calling for the immediate suspension of the approval of Posilac based on imminent hazards.

*The public health journal, the International Journal of Health Services, had a series of articles on the problems with rBGH milk.

*The General Accounting Office, the watchdog arm of the Congress, recommended further testing of rBGH before its release. This didn't happen.

*In recognition of the link between rBGH causing mastitis in cows and the need for antibiotic treatment, scientists at Rutgers University said there needs to be greater emphasis on keeping the milk supply free of antibiotic residues. The Centers for Disease Control calls antibiotic resistance 'a major public health crisis.'

*Veterinarian Michael W. Fox, a past vice president of the Humane Society of the United States, calls rBGH 'crack cocaine for cows' because it revs them up, pulls calcium out of their bones, and makes it very painful to stand up and walk.

Dozens of countries banned the use of rBGH, the United Nations refused to affirm its safety, the Consumers Union revealed that the FDA failed to properly test the product, a professor at a medical school said it can cause cancer, and the investigative arm of Congress recommended delaying its release. Fortunately, more dairy farmers are 'getting it' - that the use of rBGH is a wrong turn in their industry.

However, this isn't a debate about its safety. A labeling ban raises a red flag about prohibiting our right to know about the foods we eat. Many dairy farmers want to offer their consumers information about their milk products and consumers want to be offered this information. We urge you to allow us full informed consent.

Most sincerely,



2.Tell the Governors to label rBGH-Free milk!
A quick e-action from Food and Water Watch

Dear Friends:

A dangerous trend has started over the last month. States across the country are starting to make rules that take away consumers' right to know whether or not their milk is made with the artificial growth hormone rBGH. Pennsylvania already has the rule, and Ohio and New Jersey are considering a rule change that would restrict dairies from labeling their milk as 'artificial hormone-free.' We need to stop this trend before it spreads any further. Help us by sending a message to these States, telling them that consumers have a right to know what's in their milk, and dairies have a right to tell them. Contact the governors today!

This isn't just an issue for these states, this is certainly an issue that affects all of us. Known as rBGH or rBST, the genetically engineered hormone is injected into cows to make them produce more milk. Besides the documented increase of infections in dairy cows injected with rBGH, which necessitates increased use of antibiotics, there are ongoing questions about links to cancer in humans. As a result, most of the industrialized countries in the world have banned this hormone, including Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and all 27 countries in the European Union.

As consumers have grown more worried about the effects of rBGH on their health, demand for rBGH-free dairy products has grown. A recent poll conducted for Food & Water Watch indicates that 80 percent of consumers want milk from cows not treated with the hormone to be labeled 'rBGH-free.' Labeling is the primary means for producers to convey information to consumers. Whether artificial growth hormones were used to produce milk is a significant issue, worthy of such communication. Denying consumers information about dairy products made from milk produced without rBGH leaves consumers without the information they need to make informed choices.

Write Governors Strickland and Corzine today, and tell them to protect consumers' right to know by allowing dairies to label their milk 'rBGH-Free'.

Thanks for taking action,
Sarah Alexander
Food and Water Watch

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