You may or may not have heard the controversy over labeling of products that are free of rBGH (recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone). Many states have tried (some successfully) to make it illegal to label food that has been made with dairy from cows that have NOT been treated with rBGH.
What is rBGH ?
rBGH (recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone) is a genetically engineered variant of the natural growth hormone produced by cows. Manufactured by Monsanto, it is sold to dairy farmers under the trade name POSILAC. Injection of this hormone forces cows to increase their milk production by about 10%.
How does it affect humans?
Research is still being done on this in the US but it has been linked to cancer and other serious illnesses. There are also some scientists that believe that since the hormones are passed on through the milk it can have serious effects on children and their development because the hormone effects the endocrine system which is very sensitive. Some have gone even further to suggest that it could cause fertility problems in women, but more research needs to done to really assert that claim. The European Union and Canada ban the use of rBGH because of the effects it can have on humans!!!
Honestly, I spared you all some of the really gross details about this because you really will never want to drink non-organic or at least rBGH-free milk again. I had a professor in college who told me about this and I can honestly say there is only a handful of times (in the last decade) that I have had milk in my fridge that has not been rBGH-free. It is extremely easy to find in fact I have read that Walmart brand milk comes only from rBGH-free cows.
It is impossible right now to only drink milk or eat dairy products that are rBGH-free because they are not in every resturant and coffee shop but if you make the effort at home you will cut down on the amount of the hormone in your system.
I encourage you to keep an eye on this issue because you want to be able to have the right to know if your milk has the dangerous chemical in it and be able to avoid it if you want. If you really feel motivated on this issue write to your state representatives and tell them that you do not want this kind of legislation discussed in your state.
For more information on this topic go to: http://www.organicconsumers.org/rbghlink.cfm
Ben and Jerry’s has always supported farms that do not use rBGH and are very active in the movement to prevent states from making it illegal to label products rBGH-free. For more information go to: http://www.benjerry.com/our_company/about_us/environment/