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beware of this kitchen table danger!
synthetic hormones in our dairy products, in our homes and on our kitchen table for breakfast with our morning cereal. . .Although this issue has been around for years and rbGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone), also known as rbST (recombinant bovine somatotropin), has been a staple in the dairy products consumed by Americans for over 20 years. Surprisingly, a lot of folks still have no clue to the dangers of synthetic hormones and some don't even know what rbGH is and it's health affects to those consuming it. Let us help you in getting to know what rBGH/rBST is and how we can avoid supporting big companies that want to feed us poisons. First of all. . . what is it?
WHAT is rBGH also known as rBST?Bovine somatotropin (BST) is a protein hormone naturally produced in the pituitary glands of cattle. Monsanto developed a recombinant version, rBST, by using a genetically engineered E. coli bacteria. Sold under the brand name “Posilac, ” it is injected into cows to boost milk output in the short term. This practice is coming under increasing scrutiny. rBST is also known as rBGH (recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone).
How does rBST affect the animals that receive this drug?
Posilac packaging lists many possible side effects of the drug, including reduced pregnancy rates, visibly abnormal milk, hoof disorders and a need for more drug treatments for health problems. Cows treated with rBST face a nearly 25% increase in the risk of clinical mastitis, a 40% reduction in fertility, and 55% increase risk of lameness. (The Canadian Journal of Veterinary Research, 2003)
Is rBST allowed for use in other countries?
The product is already prohibited in Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and in the 27 countries of the European Union.
How does rBST affect milk production?
rBST is known to increase the levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) in cows, which can lead to increased IGF-1 in milk. (“Report on Public Health Aspects of the Use of Bovine Somatotropin, ” issued March 15-16, 1999, and available from The European Commission—Food Safety. )
What do milk and milk product labels need to say about not using rBST?
Labels must be truthful and not misleading. To avoid misleading consumers, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidance from February 1994 suggests a label statement such as: “from cows not treated with rbST” or other truthful description.As recently as August 2007, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and FDA rejected a request for new restrictions on rBST marketing claims at the federal level. The FTC stated “food companies may inform consumers in advertising, as in labeling, that they do not use rBST. ”
In the News TodayDespite the efforts of Monsanto and the dairy industry to promote rBGH, farmers, the public has largely rejected the artificial hormone. In response to growing consumer concern, some dairies label their milk as "rBGH-free" or "No artificial growth hormones. " In attempt to make these labeling practices illegal, a pseudo "grassroots" nonprofit called American Farmers for the Advancement and Conservation of Technology (AFACT) was formed in February 2008. Created by a public relations firm founded by two ex-Monsanto employees, AFACT received funding from Monsanto before it was dissolved in 2011. The fight over milk labels took place across the US; attempts to ban rBGH-free labeling occurred in:
- Pennsylvania: In October 2007, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture outlawed hormone-free labeling, claiming the labels are "false" and "misleading" to consumers. In reaction to public outcry, Governor Ed Rendell allowed hormone-free labeling to be reinstated in January 2008.
- Ohio: In February 2008, Ohio Agriculture Director, Robert Boggs, approved the use of rBGH-free labeling only if the FDA’s disclaimer, "no significant difference has been shown between milk derived from rBST-supplemented and non-rbST-supplemented cows, " was also included, in a way that made labeling virtually impossible. However, in October 2010 a federal court overturned the rBGH labeling rule: the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit stated that there is a "compositional difference" between milk from cows receiving growth hormone and those that don’t, and ruled that companies are free to label their products as "rBGH free" and "rBST free. "
- Indiana: In 2008, the Indiana legislature considered a bill to make artificial hormone-free labeling illegal, claiming milk would be "misbranded" if "compositional claims cannot be confirmed through laboratory analysis. " The bill did not pass the legislature.
- Kansas: In 2009, the Kansas legislature passed a bill that deemed any milk, milk product or dairy product label with a statement related to milk composition including "No Hormones, " "Hormone Free, " "rBST Free, " "rBGH Free, " and "BST Free" as false and misleading. Governor Kathleen Sebelius vetoed the bill.