Sunday, January 21, 2007

Starbucks and Safeway Say Hold the Hormone -- But Why Not Everywhere?

Looks like all this citizen outcry about not wanting artificial hormones in our cafe lattes paid off. The Safeway supermarket chain has said they will only stock rBGH-free milk on their shelves. And, Starbucks announced it will serve rBGH-free milk in its cafes in Oregon and Washington... so what about the rest of us?

rBGH, or recombinant bovine growth hormone, is a synthetic hormone sold on the market under the name "Posilac" and is produced by Monsanto (or, Monsanto). It is supposed to benefit dairy farmers by increasing milk production, but according to every farmer I've interviewed who has tried it, it does more harm than good: with artificially increased growth, cows tend to fall sicker easier. Public health advocates have also raised concerns about the human health impacts of consuming milk products with rBGH. (For more on this tale, read here about the attempt by journalists to investigate the rBGH story, and the reaction they spawned at Monsanto.) --Anna