in the news: beef recalls and dairy labeling

  • this second headline from the AP is a couple of weeks old now, but describes Monsanto's efforts to restrict labeling dairy that's hormone-free:

    Ben & Jerry's in fight over labeling

    Monsanto is apparently backing a new farmers' group, American Farmers for the Advancement and Conservation of Technology, which is trying to ban companies like Ben & Jerry's from labeling their products "rBGH-free." notably, rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone) is produced by Monsanto and sold to dairy farmers in increase milk production. such hormones are not permitted in organic dairy, but are another means used in conventional factory farming to boost yield. the safety of such hormones remains indeterminate, but this statement gives me pause for thought from from a physician and professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago's School of Public Health. certainly neither the USDA nor the FDA are known for protecting consumer and environmental health over the demands of big business.

    Monsanto, interestingly, is trying to frame this as a question of protecting farmers' "technology," nicely sidestepping issues of health or humane animal practices. Regardless, this debate is another reminder of the advantages of small-scale organic dairy farming over industrialized agribusiness. You can keep up with the pro-organic side of things over at OrganicConsumers.org, including the latest statement from Oregan Physicians for Social Responsibility.

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