Originally published July 6 2008
Consumer Outrage May Reverse Pennsylvania's rBGH-Free Dairy Label Censorship Sham
by David Gutierrez, staff writer
(NaturalNews) The governor of Pennsylvania has ordered a review of a ruling banning "hormone-free" labels on milk after widespread outrage from consumers and milk producers.
Many dairies inject cows with a growth hormone, referred to as recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) or recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST), to increase their milk production. Organic milk cannot be produced using artificial hormones, and many non-organic dairies also guarantee no hormone use in their products due to consumer concern over the health effects of rBGH.
Milk produced from cows injected with rBGH contains higher levels of insulin growth factor than normal milk. Insulin growth factor has been correlated with the development of cancer in humans. Use of rBGH is banned in the European Union, Australia, Canada and Japan.
In October, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture announced that it would ban the use of labels such as "hormone-free," "rBGH-free" or "rBST-free" by dairies selling milk in the state. Approximately 9,000 dairies are located in Pennsylvania, making it the fourth-largest dairy producing state in the country.
According to the ruling, claims like "rBGH-free" cannot be independently proven, in contrast to an externally monitored standard like "organic."
This is the same argument that has been made by rBGH producer Monsanto and rejected by the Federal Trade Commission, which struck down a request for a ban on hormone-free labels earlier this year.
Governor Ed Rendell called for a review of the Agriculture Department's decision after being contacted by agriculture lobbyists and representatives from rural districts of the state. Consumer groups have also joined in criticizing the new rule.
"This violates the fundamental rights of consumers to know what's in their milk," said Kevin Golden, staff attorney for the Center for Food Safety.
If Pennsylvania upholds the labeling ban, Golden said, lawsuits will inevitably result
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