Monsanto Wants Feds to Silence Dairies (5/4/2007)

GM WATCH comment: Monsanto's GM cattle drug (rBGH, aka rBST) is banned in every other developed nation but Monsanto wants to stop US dairies even being able to tell their customers whether their milk was produced with it or not.


Monsanto Wants Feds to Silence Dairies
No Need to Eliminate Growth Hormones, Chemical Giant Argues
Consumer Affairs, April 4 2007

Monsanto, the giant chemical company, wants Big Brother to protect it from those bullies that hang around the dairy barns.

The problem, to hear Monsanto tell it, is that dairies such as New England's Hood and California's Alta Dena are making a big deal about how their milk comes from cows that haven't been treated with an artificial growth hormone made by Monsanto.

The hormone -- recombinant bovine somatotropin -- or rBST -- was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1993. But many parents fear the substance can cause cancer, premature development or other conditions in children. Some European countries prohibit using the chemical.

Farmers like the chemical additive because it causes cows to produce about ten percent more milk.

Some major dairies made the move to rBST-free cows last year to compete more effectively against organic milk and Monsanto argues the dairies have been making health claims that aren't true, causing consumers to spend more for "natural" milk while in fact getting nothing in return.

Monsanto has complained to the FDA and also to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), claiming the ads amount to false advertising.

Monsanto beefed that, on its Web site, Alta Dena says, "By not using rBST, we protect the health of our cows, their milk and our customers." But Monsanto says a study it commissioned looked at 98 brands of milk in 48 states and found no differences in the milk, regardless of whether it was rBST-free or rBST-fed cows.

Hood and another new England dairy, Garelick, make no health claims but their milk bottles carry labels saying their farmers have pledged not to use artificial growth hormones. Monsanto says that implies that artificial growth hormones are unhealthful.


Back to the Archive