“rbGH-Free” Momentum Building in U.S by jrskeirwta

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									“rbGH-Free” Momentum Building in U.S.
                                                                                                                     Creamery Assn. of Oregon declared that its prized
                                                                                                                     cheeses would no longer contain milk from Posilac-
                                                                                                                     injected cows. Tillamook’s leadership saw sales of
                                                                                                                     the co-op’s pre-eminent branded cheeses impacted
                                                                                                                     by consumer concerns about rbGH. After the
                                                                                                                     Tillamook co-op board of directors announced a
                                                                                                                     “rbGH-Free” policy for its cheeses, then Posilac’s
                                                                                                                     manufacturer—Monsanto—tried to disrupt the co-
                                                                                                                     op’s membership.
                                                                                                                          * In the summer 2006, Alpenrose Dairy
                                                                                                                     (Redmond, Oregon) became completely “rbGH-
    More and more U.S. dairy processors are responding to consumer                                                   Free”.
concerns by selling “rbGH-Free” dairy products. This trend was                                                            * In December 2005, Darigold’s Seattle,
building fast, even before recent reports that rbGH–related hormones                                                 Washington's fluid milk supply went “rbGH-Free”.
in milk were causing increased multiple human births.                                                                Darigold (formerly operating as West Farm) is mov-
                                                                                                                     ing step-by-step, according to Rick North. In
by Pete Hardin                                            Nutrition, where author Dr. Gary Steinman reports          February 2006, Darigold shifted production of its
                                                          that a secondary hormone related to “Posilac” injec-       yogurt to a “rbGH-Free” plant.
      Increased consumer demand for “rbGH-Free”
                                                          tions—Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1), may
dairy products is driving more dairy processors to
                                                          be causing up to a five-fold increase in births of
require their raw milk supplies contain no milk from                                                                     Global hospital wellness group: anti-rbGH
                                                          twins in milk-drinking women in the U.S.
dairy farms using Monsanto’s synthetic, milk-stim-
ulating cow growth hormone—“Posilac”.                                                                                      Rick North reports another key organization is
                                                             Meatrix 2 video targets factory dairies/rbGH            involved with the “anti-rbGH” effort is an interna-
      Some raw milk marketers are absorbing higher                                                                   tional group—Health Care Without Harm. That
costs to find a home for milk from farms using                  Public debate about rbGH milk (and added             group consists of some 443 organizations in 52
“Posilac”. The tempo of “anti-rbGH” consumer senti-       IGF-1) in consumer dairy products has spread far           countries. Health Care Without Harm promotes
ment is building fast, particularly on the West Coast     beyond the ability of mere dairy industry public           safe practices in hospitals. Originally, the organiza-
and the East Coast.                                       relations to contain. Earlier in 2006, a food activist     tion focused on eliminating mercury from hospitals
      Historic consumer opposition to injecting U.S.      group unveiled a Web site-based presentation titled        and safe disposal of medical waste. In June 2005,
dairy cows with milk-boosting, synthetic hormones         “The Meatrix 2”—which attacks “factory dairies”.           Health Care Without Harm came out against feed-
runs very, very deep. Back in the late 1980s and          That group’s first presentation—“The Meatrix”—             ing dairy products processed from milk from farms
early 1990s, several years before Posilac was com-        an expose on feedlot beef industry practices, was          using Posilac. The group’s “rbGH-Free” policy
mercially sold, multiple consumer opinion surveys         viewed by about 10 million persons.                        states:
consistently showed that about 75-80% percent of               To see a copy of this video, go to the Web site:            “Health Care Without Harm opposes the use
consumers thought it was a bad idea to inject cows             www.themeatrix2.com                                   of recombinant bovine growth hormone (rbGH or
with synthetic hormones to boost milk output. Truth                                                                  rbST)—a synthetic hormone given to cows to
be known … this issue is clearly a case where con-             At that Web site, to find the policy statements
                                                          on rbGH, click on “U.S.” and then “Food”.                  increase milk production, due to the adverse impact
sumers’ gut-level skepticism proved far wiser than                                                                   upon animals and the potential harm to humans. We
the assurances of government officials, dairy indus-                                                                 therefore urge health care providers to purchase
try flunkies, and university professors who asserted            The “Meatrix 2” video contains supplemental          non-rbGH milk from suppliers.”
“human safety” of milk from rbGH-injected cows.           information that focuses on the Starbucks coffee chain.         The Web site for Health Care Without Harm is:
      Recent events show demand for “rbGH-Free”           Starbucks is the highly-profitable, national upscale
dairy products is galloping. Over the years, public       coffee chain with thousands of outlets. Starbucks is a          www.noharm.org
skepticism about potential human dangers from hor-        major purchaser of cream—used in those fancy latte
mone-residues in rbGH-derived milk have not gone          coffee drinks. If Starbucks were to declare a “rbGH-          Key human health issue: higher IGF-1 levels:
away. Amid the back-and-forth assertions of “dan-         Free” policy for cream purchases, that could almost
gers” (by critics) and “safety” (by Monsanto’s            single-handedly force cream suppliers to shift to “no           The discipline that Rick North has followed at
allies), one fact stands clear: consumer demand for       rbGH” milk/cream procurement policies.                     the Campaign for Safe Food is to present fact-based
“rbGH-Free” milk is growing each year. And late-                                                                     human health/safety concerns, in opposing Posilac-
                                                                Perhaps recent surging demands by dairy proces-      derived milk. The specific human health concern is
ly, such demand is galloping.                             sors’ for “rbGH-Free” milk supplies is a straight-line     elevated levels of a powerful, secondary hormone:
                                                          correlation to increased publicity about dangers of hor-   IGF-1.
       Wal-Mart pushing “rbGH-Free” milk                  mone-laden, rbGH-derived milk products … regard-
                                                          less of whether consumers concerns are being                     The Campaign for Safe Food cites research
      The word in the dairy industry is that a major      spawned by cartoons or medical journal articles.           showing elevated levels of blood IGF-1 for persons
push for “rbGH-Free” milk is coming from the                                                                         consuming rbGH-derived cows’ milk. Back when
nation’s largest fluid milk retailer: Wal-Mart. Wal-                                                                 the federal Food and Drug Administration original-
Mart is pressuring its primary packaged milk suppli-         Oregon PSR group pushes anti-rbGH facts …               ly approved commercial sale of rbGH, that agency
er--Dean Foods for “rbGH-Free” fluid products. And              Carefully watching increased, “rbGH-Free”            claimed that the additional IGF-1 in milk from
Dean Foods, in turn, is demanding “rbGH-Free” farm        consumer dairy trends is Rick North (Durham,               rbGH-injected dairy cows would be destroyed by
milk from its near-exclusive supplier, Dairy Farmers      Oregon). For almost three years, North has spear-          digestive acids. Subsequent research has shown
of America. (                                             headed the “Campaign for Safe Food” for the                that presumption is not true: the IGF-1 is shepherd-
          More processors go “rbGH-Free                   Oregon chapter of the Physicians for Social                ed through the human digestive tract by casein (pro-
                                                          Responsibility focusing on food safety. In general,        tein) molecules in milk.
      On June 1, 2006, the Dean Foods’ fluid milk
plant at Florence, New Jersey shifted to a “rbGH-         the group has dealt with Genetically Modified                    At that Web site, look particularly for the
Free” status. Raw milk marketers supplying that plant     Organism (GMO) food safety issues, but with a par-         eight-page brochure titled, “Know Your Milk.”
must have certificates from all their dairy producers     ticular focus on rbGH.
swearing they don’t use “Posilac” at all. Indeed, sell-        The Web site for that group is:                              Warning: “rbGH-Free” wave surging
ing raw milk to fluid processors in New England,               www.oregonpsr.org
eastern New York, New York City, metropolitan New                                                                          More than a dozen years after Monsanto’s
Jersey … down to the Philadelphia market is increas-              North, who previously worked for the               biotech cow hormone was approved for commercial
ingly difficult. Fluid milk processors in southern New    American Cancer Society, directs an effective, fact-       sale, consumer demand for “rbGH-Free” dairy
England are almost rock-solid in their demands for        based campaign promoting “rbGH-Free” dairy                 products is dramatically rising. FDA’s original
“rbGH-Free” raw milk.              Farmland Dairies       products in the Pacific Northwest. North’s group           assertions about rbGH human “safety”—especially
(Wallington, NJ), Hood/Crowley (in New England)           does not “target” processors, but has worked “com-         those involving the secondary hormone, IGF-1—
and Dean Foods (New England and New Jersey) all           municating” the growing list of human safety con-          look increasingly bogus as time and scientific
tout “rbGH-Free” milk claims to their consumers.          cerns about rbGH-derived cows’ milk to dairy               knowledge about IGF-1 grow.
                                                          processors in the region. That task hasn’t always               The recent journal article that correlates dra-
      Late word arrives from Montoana that two            been welcomed by dairy executives.
fluid mil processors–Darigold (the local co-op) and                                                                  matically higher rates of “twins” birthed to non-
Meadow Gold (Dean Foods)–have announced they                    But North points to several “rbGH-Free” dec-         vegan women in the U.S. with elevated levels of
will be “rbGH-Free”.                                      larations by dairy processors in the Pacific               IGF-1 in dairy products promises to further fuel
                                                          Northwest as feathers in the cap of the “Campaign          public desires to avoid milk from farms using
      No prior consumer concerns about rbGH-milk          for Safe Food”.                                            Posilac.
will be reduced by recent findings reported in the
May 2006 issue of The Journal of Reproductive                  * On April 1, 2005, the Tillamook Cooperative
                                                                                                                            The Milkweed • July 2006 — 5

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