Just came back from David\'s grocery. I needed some butter and was looking for my usual Land O Lakes when I saw "Challenge Butter- from Cows NOT TREATED with the Growth Hormone rbST". The price was the same as for the other butters, above. Naturally, I thought, well,heck, does this mean that Land O Lakes IS treated with rbST? I also was a little surprised to see this butter in Glen Rose, and now I wonder, where\'s the milk without the hormones? (I heard that HEB may be selling non-rbST milk but I didn\'t see any in the Stephenville HEB last time I looked).
I didn\'t really know much about rbST except that I don\'t like the idea of having milk produced by jacking up cows artificially to produce more. So here\'s a little of what I found out.
First off, Monsanto appears to be behind not only one of the products, Posilac, that increases milk production in cows, BUT as of August, 2008 is getting out of the business. From unbossed.
Monsanto Company announced today that it is pursuing a divestiture of its dairy product, POSILAC(R) bovine somatotropin, in the upcoming months. Additional details have not been disclosed at this time.
"While POSILAC is a strong product for the business, we believe repositioning the business with a strategic owner will allow Monsanto to focus on the growth of its core seeds and traits business while ensuring that loyal dairy farmers continue to receive the value of POSILAC in their operations," said Carl Casale, Monsanto\'s Executive Vice-President of Strategy and Operations.
Monsanto\'s announcement is directed at buyers - telling them that Posilac is just the bestest product on the market, but, well, Monsanto needs to spend more time with its seeds.
Why might that be? Seems that their attempts at PR propaganda to get consumers to stop asking both IF the dairy product has rbST and to quit wanting to buy NON-rbST products wasn\'t doing so well. Monsanto tried to say that, despite the risk not only to cows from using this product but also to pregnant women, Hey! It Decreases Global Warming! We Have a Study! Problem is that the stury was done (impartially? No) by people directly on Monsanto\'s payroll or through its funding.
There is currently a debate raging over the safety of bovine growth hormone. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1993 ruled that it was not harmful and could be injected into cows to improve their milk production. But some studies have linked it with a risk of mastitis (udder infection) in cows, requiring the use of antibiotics that may in turn be contributing to the evolving resistance of bacteria to the drugs.
Bovine growth hormone is also known to stimulate the production of insulinlike growth factor 1 (IGF1) by the liver; some studies have shown that high levels of IGF1 in the bloodstream may heighten the risk of prostate and breast cancers as well as a woman\'s chance of conceiving twins. As a result of consumer concerns, farmers in Australia, Canada, the European Union and New Zealand do not inject their cows with bovine growth hormone.
Oh, that\'s what every woman wants. To be drinking her milk and popping out TWINS. With breast cancer.
Monsanto is currently in the midst of a fight in the U.S. to prevent dairy farmers from labeling their milk as rbST-free or as produced by cows not treated with bovine growth hormone. The company charges that such claims cannot be verified, because there is no inexpensive test to prove that cow milk is free of artificial hormones. At Monsanto\'s request, several states are weighing new regulations barring such labeling, even though the FDA last year ruled that such labels are neither false or misleading.
Many U.S. dairy farmers have pledged not to use the growth hormone in their products, and corporate milk consumers such as Kraft Foods and retailers such as Wal-Mart have announced plans to shift to dairy products that do not contain artificial hormones.
The American Journal of Dietetic Association did a story that came out in July 2008 that basically says that all milk is the same, whether the cows used rbST or not. Not surprising that such a study would come out when Monsanto has been on a tear to get national and state agencies to quit food labeling that products are rbST free (after all, that would hurt their profits or at least it WOULD have if they weren\'t divesting themselves of posilac). Here\'s a link to a PDF of the study. And here are the people who did the study.
JOHN VICINI, PhD; TERRY ETHERTON, PhD; PENNY KRIS-ETHERTON, PhD, RD; JOAN BALLAM, MS; STEVEN DENHAM, PhD;
ROBIN STAUB, PhD; DANIEL GOLDSTEIN, MD; ROGER CADY, PhD; MICHAEL M
CGRATH, PhD; MATTHEW LUCY, PhD
Let\'s see. The first guy, John Vincini works for..... wait for it.... .MONSANTO! Second guy, Terry Etherton appears to be a partisan for Monsanto. Should I guess that Penny Kris-Etherton is his wife? Michael McGrath works for Monsanto. Steven Denham worked for Monsanto. Daniel Goldstein works for.... are you getting sleepy yet? Monsanto. Matthew Lucy had grant from....
The whattoeat blog makes a point about what was not measured
What’s not measured in this report should be jumping off the page to any critcal thinker:
IGF; antibiotic use (which residues tested for and which not); somatic cell count; CLA; pasture time; omega 3 fatty acids; vitamin E; life expectancy of
the cow, etc. etc.
For me, I\'m not a scientist, but any time I see a study, even if it\'s published in some *prestigious* journal but it\'s FUNDED by a particular company, I\'m going to think they have a point of view to put forward and want some scientific study to help polish it up. However, Monsanto is pulling out of that drug for cows. Methinks they know they\'re losing the argument.
UPDATE April 13,2010-Saw this HuffPo article about the dangers of rBGH milk. And, ugh, it includes some stats about meat
US cattle are implanted with natural or synthetic sex hormones prior to entering feed lots 100 days prior to slaughter in order to increase their meat yield. Not surprisingly, our meat is contaminated with high levels of sex hormones. Based on these concerns, and as warned by the Cancer Prevention Coalition and five leading national experts, our meat poses increased risks of hormonal cancers, which have escalated since 1975: breast by 23 percent, prostate by 60 percent, and testis by 60 percent. Not surprisingly, US meat is banned worldwide.
Furthermore, as clearly evidenced in a series of General Accounting Office investigations and Congressional hearings, the FDA, besides the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), have failed to take any regulatory action to protect the public from the dangers of hormonal meat. A 1986 report, "Human Food Safety and Regulation of Animal Drugs," unanimously approved by the House Committee on Government Operations, concluded that the "FDA has consistently disregarded its responsibility -- has repeatedly put what it perceives are interests of veterinarians and the livestock industry ahead of its legal obligation to protect consumers -- jeopardizing the health and safety of consumers meat, milk, and poultry."