Paying extra for hormone-free milk

February 7, 2008
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Grocery stores are rejecting milk from cows that have been injected with a growth hormone that stimulates milk production.

Kroger, Dean Foods and others are responding to consumers who are jittery about recombinant bovine somatotropin, or rbST, which has been used since 1993. Kroger is dropping the milk from its Indianapolis stores soon.

Late last month, Indiana state Rep. Bill Friend, R-Macy, pulled a bill that would have protected the industry by making it illegal to label dairy products as free of artificial growth hormone. He said at the time that it was too controversial and demanded more time for study.

Mainstream scientists insist so little of the hormone is present in milk that itâ??s all but impossible to detect. They also say that what little does end up in milk would be harmless to humans.

Harmful or not, Purdue University specialist Mike Schutz says the result is that the cost to produce milk without rbST will rise 5 to 8 percent. Those extra costs will find their way to consumers and will drive some small dairy farms out of business, he warns.

Are consumersâ?? fears rational, and is the peace of mind worth the extra price weâ??ll pay for milk?
  • It's absolutely worth the extra price. Has enough research been done to determine if there is such a thing as safe levels of rbST--or for that matter any of the other hormones, antibiotics and additives that end up in our food? Obviously not.
  • We need to do anything to help improve our health, and the health of our living children and the unborn children. I have refused to digest processed foods and most processed drinks. I just don't want something going into me that could have potentional problems for my health and future children's health.
  • The idea that large retailers will put small dairys out of business by dropping growth hormone-produced milk is pure Monsanto PR. Small dairys would have been more hurt by this bill which protects them *and* consumers. Monsanto manufactures the bovine growth hormone dairies use to increase milk production, so of course warns us that if the massive dairies quit using it, they won't produce as much and our prices will go up. With this bill, smaller dairies who do not use the production booster will be able to keep competing, offering better product which by law will still be allowed to be labled growth hormone free.

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