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Organic Consumers Association

rBGH-Free Trend Continues

For related articles and more information please visit OCA's page on rBGH .

Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility's latest list of dairy processors in the largest 100 that have gone rBGH-free continues to grow.

Some notable points:

  1. Fully two thirds (67) of processors in the Top 100 made the list.
  2. This number is up from last year's report that had 57 processors making the list.
  3. Thirty-nine processors are completely rBGH-free, 28 partially rBGH-free.

Several of the new additions entered the Top 100 list for the first time, including two based in Illinois, Berner Foods Inc. and Lifeway Foods. Others included Oregon Ice Cream (see details below), based in Washington State, Thiel Cheese & Ingredients, based in Wisconsin, and Kleinpeter Farms, based in Louisiana.

Dairies in the Top 10 mostly had rBGH-free lines, including Dean Foods, Kraft, Kroger, Land O'Lakes and HP Hood. Prairie Farms Dairy was the only processor in the Top 10 that was completely rBGH-free.

The list also notes the actions of several retailers, including Starbucks, whose company-owned stores are completely rBGH-free and Chipotle Mexican Restaurants, which are also 100% free. Wal-Mart's store brand Great Value milk is rBGH-free, but not their other dairy products.

With Dannon and Yoplait going completely rBGH-free last year, Oregon PSR estimates that 75% of all yogurt sold in the U.S. is rBGH-free. It also estimates that 75% of the fluid milk in the country is rBGH-free, including organic brands.

The list can be accessed at http://www.psr.org/chapters/oregon/assets/pdfs/top-100-rbgh-free-dairies.pdf. The Top 100 list is from dairyfoods.com.

Bon Appetit/Compass

Bon Appetit, a division of Compass Group USA, announced last month that it would buy only rBGH-free yogurt. The decision covers over 400 locations in 30 states. The two companies had already gone completely rBGH-free for fluid milk.

Compass Group, based in Charlotte, NC, is one of the largest food service companies in the country, with $9.2 billion in revenues in 2009. Bon Appetit Management Company is an onsite restaurant company that offers full food service to numerous universities and corporate campuses. Its university clients include American University, the U. of Pennsylvania, MIT, Washington University and Lewis & Clark. Corporate clients include Adidas, Best Buy, eBay, Target and Yahoo.

In a press release, Bon Appetit CEO Fedele Bauccio said "At Bon Appetit Management Company, we believe it is imperative that restaurant companies take an active role in promoting sustainable food systems. Buying our yogurt from manufacturers that ban artificial growth hormone is a triple win - for concerned consumers, conscientious dairy farmers, and committed businesses that are passionate about the importance of healthy animals and healthy foods."

Oregon Ice Cream

Oregon Ice Cream recently released a statement to its customers and prospective buyers that "our suppliers have obtained signed affidavits from their milk producers that state that they will not treat any cows with rBST."

Based in Vancouver, WA, with production facilities in Eugene, OR, Oregon Ice Cream produces ice cream under six brand names, Julie's Organic, Alden's, Dutch Girl, Denali, Moosetracks and Cascade Glacier. It also produces several private label brands and has a large food service division. Julie's and Alden's are distributed nationwide, especially through Costco, while the others are sold primarily in 14 western states.

When asked why Oregon Ice Cream went completely rBGH-free, a spokesman responded "The demand was there."

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