Saturday, November 10, 2007

Banning rBST Labeling

Andrew Martin at the New York Times reported on the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture's decision to get on my nerves. Specifically,
"Pennsylvania is banning labels on milk and dairy products that say it comes from cows that haven’t been treated with artificial bovine growth hormone, which is sometimes known as rBGH or rBST. State officials say the labels are confusing and impossible to verify."
Farmers use recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST) to increase a cow's production of milk by a gallon or more a day. The point of concern isn't with the use of the hormone, which is considered safe by the FDA, but with the "absence labeling,” which tells consumers what isn't in food instead of what is. While I don't see this happening in California, I don't like the trend since officials in Ohio are considering it, too.

Dennis Wolff, Pennsylvania’s agriculture secretary, took a position that directly impacts the diet of his state's residents, and Martin questions him on his loyalties.
Rather, Mr. Wolff is bucking consumer demand, which will benefit Monsanto [rBST manufacturer] and a bunch of whiny dairy farmers. Monsanto certainly doesn’t need his help. On Thursday, the company told investors that its gross profits should double in the next five years. And I find it hard to muster sympathy for farmers who refuse to change to meet consumer demands. Most businesses certainly don’t have that luxury.
I find this a terribly frustrating ruling since I don't find the state of food in the United States to be as safe as it should be. When foods are being treated with hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, etc., I want to know so I can avoid them. I'll pay the extra dollar if it means I can feel better about what I feed my family.


Anonymous said...

I can't believe what I have read! What is wrong with the Pennsylvania Agriculture people. They appear to be nothing but corporate slaves, doing whatever Monsanto wants them to do.
The public wants to know if the product came from a source that is rBST free. The label tells them that. If the product does not have that label, it does not necessarily mean it has rBST in it, it simply means there is no guarantee that it does or does not have rBST.
What is wrong with that. It is such simple logic. Let's do things in the public interest, not run the food industry in the corporate interest. The people in Pennsylvania ought to really persue this idiot who is doing this to them!