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Open Letter to American's Organic and Natural (rBGH-free) Dairies

From:
Organic Consumers Association
Cancer Prevention Coalition
Family Farm Defenders

January 10, 2007

Dear Organic and Natural (rBGH-free) Dairy,

On behalf of the Cancer Prevention Coalition, the Organic Consumers Association, and Family Farm Defenders, we commend you for respecting consumer choice, and protecting public and animal health by producing dairy products without the use of Monsanto's genetically modified recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), Posilac. We would like to work with you to urge the new Congress to require Monsanto's clients to label dairy products from rBGH-injected cows. Please review and consider endorsing the attached letter at your early convenience.

We know that refusing to buy Posilac from Monsanto has not been easy. Monsanto is an unabashed bully, using its seemingly inexhaustible resources to pick on the little guy.  We, besides other opponents of rBGH, have been unable to keep Monsanto out of the dairy business. We have also been unable to force Monsanto's clients to reveal their use of Posilac.  Dairies like yours have had to fight Monsanto for the right to inform consumers that they will not use rBGH, and then fight Monsanto, besides the FDA, to label their products without misleading qualifications.

Now, the tide is turning.  Advocacy groups and health-conscious consumers have been impressed by the way you have resisted Monsanto, and rejected the use of Posilac. Despite powerful campaigns, Monsanto has launched through front groups, like "Milk is Milk," and "Stop Labeling Lies," it lost in the court of public opinion.

And, after 12 years on the market, the economic impact of Posilac is becoming apparent. Using Posilac can boost milk production by 10 to 15 percent.  However, there is an oversupply, and milk prices are down to around $12 for 100 pounds.  So, producers can now make more money by getting a premium for organic and non-rBGH milk than from boosting overall production using Posilac.

Through the attached sign-on letter, we aim to show the strength of your support for rBGH-free milk, and for fair labeling dairy practices that honor consumers undeniable right to know.

Samuel S. Epstein, M.D.                
Professor emeritus
Environmental Medicine                
University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health                
Chairman, Cancer Prevention Coalition                
Chicago, Illinois                 ____________________________________________________________

Ronnie Cummins                
National Director                
Organic Consumers Association                
Finland, Minnesota                 _____________________________________________________________

John Kinsman                
Family Farm Defenders                
Madison, Wisconsin _______________________________________________________________________

SIGN-ON LETTER

We, the undersigned dairies, call on Congress to require the labeling of milk products to inform consumers when genetically engineered recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) has been used in dairy production.

rBGH is a genetically engineered, potent 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%.

Monsanto has stated that about one third of dairy cows are in herds where the hormone is used.  Monsanto claims that rBGH milk is indistinguishable from natural milk, and that it is safe.  This is untrue:

·      rBGH milk may be contaminated by pus, due to the mastitis commonly induced by rBGH and antibiotics used to treat the mastitis.
·      rBGH milk is chemically and nutritionally different than natural milk.
·      Milk from cows injected with rBGH is contaminated with the hormone, traces of which are absorbed through the gut into the blood.
·      rBGH milk is supercharged with high levels of a natural growth factor (IGF-1), which is readily absorbed through the gut.
·      Excess levels of IGF-1 have been incriminated as increasing risks of breast, colon, and prostate cancers.
·      IGF-1 blocks natural defense mechanisms against early submicroscopic cancers.

 We call for the explicit labeling of all rBGH milk and dairy products to warn that there are major differences between natural milk and rBGH milk.