|Federal Trade Commission rejects Monsanto's claim on milk ads (29/8/2007)|
1.Hormone-free milk ads not misleading
The Federal Trade Commission has rejected Monsanto's claim that milk ads using the terms "free of artifical growth hormones" or "rBGH-free" are misleading, according to the Associated Press.
The decision was announced in the same week that Starbucks agreed to stop using Monsanto's genetically engineered supplement, which is used to boost milk production in cows by 10 percent. Major grocery chains have already switched to milk free of synthetic hormones, including Safeway and Kroger Co.
This is bad news for Monsanto, which markets the hormone under the brand name Posilac. While the Food and Drug Administration approved the drug's use in 1993 and says its safe, it's banned in Europe and Canada in part because it leaves cows more prone to illness.
The ruling means ads like the one below from Borden, did not make any misleading claims about the safety of the growth hormone, called recombinant bovine somatrotropin, or rBST. (It's also known as recombinant bovine growth hormone or rBGH).
"We work exclusively with farmers that supply 100 percent of our milk from cows that haven't been treated with artificial hormones," the Borden ad says. "So, who do you trust when it comes to your family's milk?"
Monsanto argues that this type of advertising has created an artificial demand and higher consumer prices for milk from cows that have not been injected with the growth hormone," the AP reported.
"Mike Lormore, dairy industry affairs director for Monsanto in St. Louis, said the issue is 'accuracy in labeling.' He said moves by retailers could limit long-term demand for the hormone, but has not had a "significant impact" on current sales.
Under FDA policy, food companies are allowed to make claims on labels that they do not use rBST, as long they do not 'mislead consumers" to believe milk from cows without rBST is safer or of higher quality."
In 1997, the investigative reporting duo of Steve Wilson and Jane Akre cracked a story about Monsanto's conspiracy to push bovine growth hormone while ignoring the potential risks to its "end users." Unfortunately, they worked for Fox News. The channel was extremely reticent, to say the least, to run the story after coming under pressure by Monsanto.
After being fired, the couple successfully sued under Florida's whistleblower laws. However, Fox won on appeal as courts found FCC regulations against news falsification was a policy, and not a law. Fox then countersued in 2004 for court fees and legal costs.
We raise our glass of milk to you, oh Monsanto! We knew there were even more good reasons for you to contend in our Worst Company in America contest! [via The Field Report] http://www.consumerist.com/consumer/worst-company-in-america/results-the-worst-company-in-america-162897.php