Got Milk?

27 Jun

By now, you have probably heard that the majority of the milk supply in the United States contains traces of a genetically modified bovine hormone called recombinant bovine growth hormone, or “rBGH,” which is injected into lactating cows in order to increase their milk production. In the late 1980’s Monsanto Corporation took a naturally produced animal hormone “Somatotropin” and genetically replicated it using recombinant DNA biotechnology, marketing it as “POSILAC,” a breakthrough technology proven to boost young cattle growth and milk production by 10-15%. What Monsanto did not advertise was their lack of long term research associated with the consumption of rBGH in humans, as well as the effects on injected cattle. Monsanto’s privately financed studies revealed deformities in calf offspring, as well as severe bacterial infections and swelling of the udders which caused blood and pus to be secreted directly into the milk. In order to combat the infections cattle is treated with antibiotics, however because of increased resistance by the bacteria the antibiotics given become limited and obsolete. Although no profound testing was completed, POSILAC was approved in 1994 by the FDA as safe for human consumption and without adverse side effects in treated cows. In 1989, confidential documents of Monsanto were leaked and revealed frightening facts regarding rBGH:

  • Abnormally enlarged cattle organs, such as thyroids, ovaries, hearts, and livers, despite an overall loss in body fat.
  • Lower birth rates as well as reproductive abnormalities.
  • The repeated use of illegal antibiotics and other drugs for treatment of bacterial infections.

Despite these reports, the use of rBGH and its consumption did not slow and continued to invade our milk supply as well as our bodies for over a decade. Studies have shown that cows injected with rBGH have higher concentrations of Insulin Growth Factor 1, or IGF-1, which is in smaller quantities naturally produced by bovine and human breast milk. IGF-1 is directly responsible for the increase of milk production when stimulated by injection of rBGH, as well as cell growth in both bovine and human offspring. The presence of IGF-1 in breast milk is biologically necessary for infant growth and development, but on the contrary is of no value to a fully developed adult. Due to higher promotion of cell division and growth, elevated concentrations of IGF-1 have been found to be extremely cancerous, specifically associated with colon, breast, ovary, and prostate cancers amongst studied men and women. Monsanto and FDA made statements regarding the impossibility of transferring IGF-1 through milk consumption claiming pasteurization of milk eliminates traces of IGF-1, bacteria, and antibiotics. The FDA and Monsanto were both deceiving, as studies have shown that IGF-1 is highly resistant to pasteurization, where in some cases the process increased its potency. The human digestive system is not able to digest or destroy IGF-1, and therefore it is absorbed by the colon which is a biological IGF-1 cell receptor.

In 2003, a quiet storm brewed overseas as Monsanto’s several POSILAC plants in Austria were found to be the sources of bacterial outbreaks stemming from unapproved amino acid sequencing used in producing rBGH. By 2004 severe antibiotic resistant bacterial Staphylococcus infections were infecting Austrian hospitals, followed by an outbreak of relentless acne known as Propionibacterium acnes. Monsanto ceased production of POSILAC in Austria in early 2008 and instead began manufacturing in the United States. Public pressures as well as lack of demand have dramatically declined the sales of rBGH milk all over the country. Profits from POSILAC took a downward spiral, and in late 2008 Monsanto sold the patent and manufacturing rights to pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co. for $300 million under the agreement of Monsanto receiving portions of future profits.

The use of genetically altered hormones for food production has been banned by the European Union, Canada, Australia, Japan, and New Zealand prior to the year 2000, yet it remains completely legal within the United States a decade later. Educated consumers, as well as retailers and dairy manufacturers have been fighting the war against rBGH by opting to produce, sell, and buy “rBGH-free” labeled products. In a desperate attempt to remove informed decisions of consumers, Monsanto filed several lawsuits against companies which actively promoted “rBGH-free” labels on their products, claiming such labels caused an unfair representation of their product, suggesting there is something wrong with dairy produced from injected cows. According to Monsanto, because POSILAC is FDA approved, its dairy is therefore of equal safety and quality of non rBGH treated cattle. Monsanto did not win their cases and “rBGH-free” labels remain proudly displayed on appropriate products.

It is important to know that any dairy product which does not mention the absence of hormones, rBGH, rBST (recombinant bovine somatotropin), and antibiotics on its label, is likely injecting POSILAC into their cows. In order to make an informed decision about your health and the health of your family, always make sure to read the label, and refer to the following list of brands and companies which have vowed to never use rBGH in their dairy:

365 (WholeFoods)
Alpenrose Dairy
Alta Dena Organics
Anderson Erikson
BGC Manufacturing
BelGioioso Cheese Inc.
Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream
Berkeley Farms
Blythedale Farm Cheese
Braum’s Ice Cream
Brown Cow Farm
Butterworks Farm
California Dairies, Inc.
Chase Organic Dairy
Chippewa Valley Cheese
Clover Farms
Clover Stornetta Farms
Cloverland/Green Spring Dairy
Crescent Creamery
Crowley Cheese of Vermont
Dannon
Darigold
Derle Farms, milk with “no rbST”
Earth Balance
Erivan Dairy Yogurt
Farmland Dairies
Foster Farms Dairy
Franklin County Cheese
Glanbia Foods, Inc.
Gossner Foods, Inc.
Great Hill Dairy
Harmony Hills Dairy
Hiland Dairy
Horizon Organic
Humboldt Creamery Co.
Joseph Farms Cheese
Joseph Gallo Farms
Lifetime Dairy

Michigan Milk Producers Assoc.
Morningland Dairy
Nancy’s Natural Dairy
Natural by Nature
Oakhurst Dairy
Oberweis Dairy Inc.
Pacific Natural Foods
Prairie Farms Dairy
Producers Dairy Foods, Inc.
Promised
Publix Super Markets
Radiance Dairy
Roberts Dairy
Roth Kase USA
Rumiano Cheese
Safeway Organic Brand
Schneider’s Dairy
Seven Stars Farm
Shamrock Farms
Shatto Milk
Siggi’s
Land Dairy
Smith Dairy Products
Stonyfield Farm
Straus Family Creamery
Stremick’s Heritage Foods
Sunshine Dairy Foods
Super Store Industries
Tillamook Cheese
United Dairy Farmers, Inc.
Walmart store brand
Wawa Dairy
Westby Cooperative Creamery
White Mountain Foods
Wilcox Dairy, dairy line only
Wisconsin Organics
Woodstock Farms
Yoplait

List source: http://www.sustainabletable.org/shop/dairymap/

For more info and complete “rBGH-Free” brand list go to: http://www.nongmoshoppingguide.com/download.html

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