Unless you’re snacking on organic chocolate this Valentine’s Day, you may have missed some recent developments in the cause du jour of “organic-only” food activists: the campaign against dairy farmers who use a production-boosting supplement called Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH), sometimes called rbST.
Despite the fact that even biochemists can’t distinguish milk from rbST-supplemented cows from the recently fashionable “rbST-free” milk, activists have been perpetuating the myth that milk from tech-enhanced cows is bad for our health. Not surprisingly, those claims were debunked well over a decade ago when, after reviewing at least 120 studies on rbST, this product was approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
In true food cop fashion, the anti-rbST movement has been trying its very best to ban the use of this technology. As a result of their “bad-faith” efforts, consumers have noticed a spike in milk prices and an onslaught of state-by-state battles over milk labeling.
After Pennsylvania made an unfortunate about-face and decided to allow the use of the problematic “rbST-free” milk labels, several other states followed suit. Last Friday, the Ohio Department of Agriculture put new labeling rules into effect, which will essentially make these meaningless labels even more confusing by rewording them and adding a disclaimer.
However, there may still be some hope for dairy farmers and fans of inexpensive (healthy) milk. Several state legislatures are fighting to clarify the milk labeling issue for consumers. We found this letter from two Indiana lawmakers especially worth reading:
This is just one example of how hard special interest groups are making things for the American farmer… It’s sad that the American farmer is perhaps the only member of our workforce not encouraged to use the technological advances that are available.
Consumers who buy into this dairy fad will soon find their glass half empty. Because the simple truth is that the only difference between this trendy milk and its more conventional cousin is the price.