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Organic Consumers Association

rBGH Milk Ruled 'Compositionally Different' in Ohio

For related articles and more information please visit OCA's rBGH Information page or our Millions Against Monsanto Campaign page.

Remember way back when when several states tried to ban "rBGH-free" claims on dairy? This was a few years ago now. Monsanto, who owned rBGH at the time, helped found a group of rBGH-loving dairy farmers called AFACT. AFACT then pushed to ban any label claims telling consumers which milk came from cows that had not been treated with rBGH. Naturally, that sparked tons of consumer outrage, and ultimately AFACT was unsuccessful in most states where they tried this.

Save for Ohio. Ohio was the one last state where it looked like they might win. Ultimately the fight went to the courts. But yesterday brought BIG news of a court decision in Ohio. The less significant news out of the court is that milk in Ohio can still say "rBGH-free" but it must also contain an FDA disclaimer saying "[t]he FDA has determined that no significant difference has been shown between milk derived from rBST-supplemented and non-rBST-supplemented cows."

Now, here's the BIG news. The court challenged the FDA's finding that there is "no measurable compositional difference" between milk from rbGH-treated cows and milk from untreated cows. According to those who have worked on this issue for nearly two decades now (maybe more), the FDA's claim that there was no compositional difference between milk from rbGH-treated and untreated cows was THE MAJOR roadblock to any good regulation. And the court finally struck it down, citing three reasons why the milk differs:

* Increased levels of the hormone IGF-1; 
* A period of milk with lower nutritional quality during each lactation; and 
* Increased somatic cell counts (i.e. more pus in the milk).

Below, you will find the exact language of the court's ruling. The testimony submitted to the FDA's Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee all the way back in 1993 by Michael Hansen, Senior Scientist at Consumers' Union can be read here. Amazing how it only took 17 years to get the truth legally recognized.


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