If you don’t want to drink milk from cows injected with hormones, then be careful buying milk in Pennsylvania. As of Feb. 1, dairies selling milk in Pennsylvania will be prohibited from labeling their product as “hormone-free.” Biotech giant Monsanto Corporation, producer of the country’s largest-selling recombinant bovine growth hormone, won a major victory when the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture vowed to stop local dairy producers from using “absence labels”—telling consumers what is not present in the milk as opposed to what is—on their products. Similar changes are under consideration nationwide.
“We know that rBGH presents health risks to both cows and humans,” Rick North, project director at Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, told Sojourners. “Nationwide, we’ve seen one dairy after another go rBGH-free. Monsanto is losing millions of dollars and their method of fighting back is to suppress labeling information that allows consumers to make an educated choice.” Dozens of national and regional organizations mounted a consumer boycott to retain labeling rights. The hormone, which is associated with an increased risk of cancer, is banned in the European Union and elsewhere.