PodCast: The rbST-Certified Free Milk Label – Follow the Money

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Transcript: The rbST-Certified Free Milk Label – Follow the Money

Terry Etherton

The story “Which Cows Do You Trust,” which ran in the October 7th issue of the New York Times had all the makings of good investigative journalism, but fell short of the mark for one simple reason: it didn’t follow the money.

On one hand you had consumers in a Seattle Safeway paying $1.10 per half gallon more for Darigold milk labeled as coming from cows not supplemented with rbST. No less an authoritative source than the FDA says this milk is no different or better than milk from cows supplemented with rbST. It is important to appreciate that labeling milk as not coming from cows supplemented with rbST is a meaningless distinction. This is because all milk contains the same hormones in the same amounts, irrespective of whether the cows have been supplemented with rbST or not. There is an impressive amount of evidence in the scientific literature documenting that there is no compositional difference between milk from cows supplemented with rbST versus those that are not given rbST.

Clearly, consumers are being misled by dairy food companies who are trying to capitalize on activist mythology that there is something different and potentially dangerous about milk that does not come with some sort of special label. This is most unfortunate given the scientific evidence that clearly establishes milk from rbST supplemented is as safe as that from cows not given rbST!

At the same time, farmers are clearly upset at the prospect of losing a technology that makes them more productive and profitable when there is no difference in the milk they produce. Even the International Dairy Foods Association—the industry organization that represents the dairy food companies that are perpetrating this scam on the public—says the vast majority of consumers are not concerned.

If consumers and farmers are being ripped off and sound science ignored in favor of labels that market on fear, it’s clear that the only ones who benefit are those who label the milk and collect the extra money. Money taken from the pockets of U.S. farmers and families. That’s the real story.

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