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E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Feed your kids artificial cow growth hormone

Don't worry -- some guy from the Hoover Institution says it's safe.

Comments (8)

Compared to a lot of the stuff we're putting in our bodies these days, rBST seems to be pretty tame.

Tillamook county farmers have pretty much given up using hormones and antibiotics

Yeah... They tend to go with the annual spring float.

Ah, the Hoover Institute. Their motto: "We suck up to big business."

Probably the grandson of the person who said nuclear power would be too cheap to meter...

Hey Bojack, long time reader (LC law 04, first time poster) - here are the NYT letters to the editor in response (full disclosure - I work for the Center for Food Safety, see first letter):

New York Times

Bioengineered Milk? No Thanks (7 Letters - in response to the Henry Miller op ed))

Published: July 5, 2007

To the Editor:

Re “Don’t Cry Over rBST Milk,” by Henry I. Miller (Op-Ed, June 29):

Monsanto’s genetically engineered hormone has not held up to scrutiny.
When recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH; also known as rBST) is used, it elevates levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 in milk, which has been linked to increased risk of breast, prostate and other cancers. No wonder rBGH has been banned in Europe, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Seventy-four percent of Americans are concerned about negative long-term health effects from rBGH, while Starbucks, Publix and Safeway supermarkets and others have refused to use rBGH in many locations.

I dispute Dr. Miller’s assertion that rBGH-injected cows can help reduce milk prices. The only national study on the subject contradicts his claims. Farms using rBGH are likely to use more grain, water, fuel, emit more greenhouse gases and spend more on feed and other inputs, offsetting any economic gains.

Dr. Miller’s argument distracts from the real concerns over rBGH.
Consumers are right to be wary; rBGH threatens to undermine the safety of nature’s most perfect food.

Andrew Kimbrell

Executive Director

Center for Food Safety

Washington, June 29, 2007

To the Editor:

Henry I. Miller argues that we should “embrace” the use of bovine growth hormone (rBST) in order to feed people more cheaply, save the environment and so on. He characterizes opponents of rBST as “cynical,”
but I read Dr. Miller’s arguments as cynical.

I have no idea if rBST is safe. But I do know that the dairy industry and its lobbyists do not want to require labeling milk produced with rBST. In fact, they are so intent on reducing information available to consumers that they are lobbying to prevent dairies from labeling their milk as “rBST-free”!

There’s good reason for cynicism. George Entenman

Chapel Hill, N.C., June 29, 2007

To the Editor:

I read in horror Henry I. Miller’s latest recommendation for
biotechnology in food. Is this really the conversation we want to be
having about nutrition — how to pump cows full of even more chemicals
to keep up with our ravenous, fat-laden diets?

Dairy is the No. 1 source of saturated fat in the American diet. It is
also full of cholesterol and hormones (natural and otherwise). Trying
to make unhealthy foods cheaper by genetically modifying them is
absolutely the wrong direction to be moving.

How about spending all that time, energy and money on something
productive, like figuring out how to get fatty foods out of the
American diet and replaced with whole real fruits, vegetables, beans
and grains.

It would make my life as a dietitian a lot easier. Susan Levin

Washington, June 29, 2007

To the Editor:

Urging more hormone injection of cows to increase milk production is
backward. It suggests there’s a milk shortage. The United States has
long vastly overproduced milk. In recent years, the government
accumulated a $1 billion stockpile of powdered milk from excess

Consumers want less use of drugs and chemicals in milk production, not
more, as shown by skyrocketing organic milk purchases. Such hormones
may increase the risk of breast, colon and gastrointestinal cancers,
according to a University of Illinois study.

In cows, the hormones have been shown to increase lameness, udder
infections and bone cancer. Europe and Canada outlawed using hormones
on dairy cows because of such human and animal health concerns.

Increasing rBST milk would just move food production in the wrong
direction. Bill Niman

Nicolette Hahn Niman

Bolinas, Calif., June 29, 2007

The writers are cattle ranchers.

To the Editor:

What parent or teacher has not noticed that girls are maturing far
earlier than they used to? Years are being stolen from their
childhoods. These added years will extend the time their bodies deal
with adult hormones.

There is as yet no medical research showing the cost of several extra
years of hormones flooding the system. Since this is a new phenomenon
in our lives, we can’t know the ultimate costs to our children.

But for Henry I. Miller to write blithely of the benefits of rBST to
farmers, and to Monsanto, without considering the effects on our
children is shortsighted at best. If the Food and Drug Administration
chooses to value benefits to business above the health of our children,
we should at least be informed of its decision.

Label the milk that is rBST produced. Place obvious labels, and then
let parents choose the milk they deem best for their children.

Sally E. Carp

Staten Island, June 29, 2007

Yeah, what could possibly be the downside of ingesting huge amounts of livestock hormones?

The big question is, how long have they had Henry Miller locked up in the Hoover Institution, and why doesn't he write more of those spicy novels? I guess that's two big questions.

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