More good news for consumers. Dannon, manufacturer of 100 dairy products such as Activia, Light & Fit, DanActive and Danimals, will stop using milk from cows injected with bovine growth hormones (rBST / rGBH). The plan is to be 100% hormone free by the end of 2009.
[Dannon] said the move is a result of consumer feedback. “This is a response to our market evaluation and consumer preference,” Dannon’s senior director of public relations Michael Neuwirth told DairyReporter.com.
“When General Mills make their announcement, we naturally got many questions. This is something we’ve been working on for some time but because there is no real safety issue here we’ve been quite low-key about it,” said Neuwirth.
What you need to know:
BST (bovine somatotropin) is a hormone cows naturally produce and found in their bodies. The more of this hormone a cow has, the more milk it produces. In the early 1990’s, an artificial growth hormone, rBST (a.ka. rBGH), was developed by agriculture giant Monsanto. While this seems like good news, when you mess with nature, there are always consequences.
The rBST hormone itself has no effect on humans, but the “consequences” do:
1. Cows injected with the hormone tend to be sicker due to inflammations of their much larger udders, and therefore receive more antibiotics. The antibiotics then find their way into your milk and your body.
2. rBST additionally increases the level of an insulin type growth factor in the milk (IGF-1). This, again, finds its way into the human body. Though in most cases our stomach acids digest it, sometimes IGF-1 gets into the bloodstream, and for some people this raises the risk of cancer.
Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and the EU banned rBGH.
Dannon is an international dairy powerhouse, and owns about one third of the US yogurt market, tied with General Mill’s Yoplait. Having these two giants make the move will probably line up all of the smaller manufacturers as well.
What to do at the supermarket:
Until the end of 2009, buying organic is the sure way to avoid milk products from rBGH-free cows, albeit at a higher price.
On conventional products, you will not find a label mentioning the presence or absence of growth hormones or antibiotics.
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