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?