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The Label All Milk Drinkers Should Look Out For (Unless You Like Cancer)

November 25, 2010 | 211,770 views
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drinking milkA few years ago, a number of U.S. states tried to ban "rbGH-free" claims on dairy. Monsanto, which owned rbGH at the time, helped found a group called AFACT, which supported the bans. AFACT was unsuccessful in most states, but it looked like they might win in Ohio, where the fight went to the courts.

Recently, however, the Ohio court came to its decision. First, they ruled that milk in Ohio can still bear an "rbGH-free" label as long as it also bears the disclaimer stating that, "[t]he FDA has determined that no significant difference has been shown between milk derived from rbST-supplemented and non-rbST-supplemented cows."

But there's more important news out of Ohio -- the court also challenged the FDA's finding that there is "no measurable compositional difference" between milk from rbGH-treated cows and milk from untreated cows. This FDA finding has been the major roadblock to rbGH regulation, and the court struck it down.

According to La Vida Locavore:

"The court ... [cited] three reasons why the milk differs: 1. Increased levels of the hormone IGF-1, 2. A period of milk with lower nutritional quality during each lactation, and 3. Increased somatic cell counts (i.e. more pus in the milk)."

What Are GMOs?

From April 19th through April 25th we launch GMO Awareness Week. We set aside an entire week dedicated to providing you with information on GMOs and labeling initiatives.

GMOs are a product of genetic engineering, meaning their genetic makeup has been altered to induce a variety of “unique” traits to crops, such as making them drought-resistant or giving them “more nutrients.” GMO proponents claim that genetic engineering is “safe and beneficial,” and that it advances the agricultural industry. They also say that GMOs help ensure the global food supply and sustainability. But is there any truth to these claims? I believe not. For years, I've stated the belief that GMOs pose one of the greatest threats to life on the planet. Genetic engineering is NOT the safe and beneficial technology that it is touted to be.

Help Support GMO Labeling

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA)—Monsanto’s Evil Twin—is pulling out all the stops to keep you in the dark about what’s in your food. For nearly two decades, Monsanto and corporate agribusiness have exercised near-dictatorial control over American agriculture. For example, Monsanto has made many claims that glyphosate in Roundup is harmless to animals and humans. However, recently the World Health Organization (WHO) had their research team test glyphosate and have labeled it a probable carcinogen.

Public opinion around the biotech industry's contamination of our food supply and destruction of our environment has reached the tipping point. We're fighting back. That's why I was the first to push for GMO labeling. I donated a significant sum to the first ballot initiative in California in 2012, which inspired others to donate to the campaign as well. We technically "lost the vote, but we are winning the war, as these labeling initiatives have raised a considerable amount of public awareness.

The insanity has gone far enough, which is why I encourage you to boycott every single product owned by members of the GMA, including natural and organic brands. More than 80 percent of our support comes from individual consumers like you, who understand that real change comes from the grassroots.

Thankfully, we have organizations like the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) to fight back against these junk food manufacturers, pesticide producers, and corporate giants.

Internet Resources Where You Can Learn More

Together, Let's Help OCA Get The Funding They Deserve

Let’s Help OCA get the funding it deserves. I have found very few organizations who are as effective and efficient as OCA. It’s a public interest organization dedicated to promoting health justice and sustainability. A central focus of the OCA is building a healthy, equitable, and sustainable system of food production and consumption. That's why I'm proud to announce I will be matching donations up to $250,000 this week.

Please make a donation to help OCA fight for GMO labeling.


Donate Today!

 

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

With a federal court overturning Ohio's ban on 'rBGH-free' labels on dairy products, raw dairy producers and consumers can again bask in new hope. This ruling means that companies that want to clearly state that their products are "rBGH free," "rBST free," or "artificial hormone free" are now allowed to do so.

The fight for labeling of rBGH-laced milk has been ongoing since its introduction to the US market in 1994. Part of the concern is the fact that rBGH is an artificial hormone. The additional concern is that it's a genetically modified artificial hormone. Disallowing the labeling of rBGH-treated dairy essentially set the precedent for not labeling other genetically modified foods.

The debate about labeling of genetically modified (GM) foods has now flared up again, this time because the FDA is reviewing a GM salmon. If approved, the next step will be to determine whether or not the genetically altered salmon must be labeled.

This federal verdict opens the door not only to use rBGH-free labels; it also opens the back door, so to speak, for consumer groups to push for labeling of NON-GM salmon, should the FDA again decide the altered salmon does not need to carry a GM label.

That's one piece of good news.

In addition to that, this verdict is also significant because, for the first time, a court has recognized that milk from cows treated with genetically modified growth hormones (known as rBGH or rBST) is NOT identical to milk from untreated cows.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is what concerned scientists and public health advocates have argued for well over 20 years.

Years before the FDA approved it, scientists like Shiv Chopra, who worked for what is now Health Canada -- the Canadian equivalent of the FDA –were raising serious questions about the safety of rBGH milk.

For an insider's look into the politics that surrounded the approval of rBGH, listen to my interview with Shiv Chopra where he addresses this topic.

The recombinant (genetically engineered) bovine growth hormone (rBGH), is used to significantly increase milk production in cows. Treated cows can produce as much as 15-25 percent more milk. But this increase in milk production, and hence profit, has hidden costs, namely the cows' and your health.

There IS a Significant Difference Between rBGH Milk and Non-rBGH Milk

For the past 17 years, the FDA's has held on to their initial finding that there's "no significant difference" between the milk of cows given genetically modified artificial growth hormone and those that aren't.

This is an astounding decision, when you consider all the evidence to the contrary.

Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) is a powerful GE drug produced by Monsanto that can seriously damage the cow's health and reproductive capacity. The milk produced by these cows has also been shown to be anything BUT identical to untreated milk.

In fact, as stated in the court's ruling, there are several compositional and qualitative difference between these two types of milk.

Hormone-treated milk is different from non-treated milk because:

  1. It contains increased levels of the hormone IGF-1, which promotes cancer tumors. According to Dr. Epstein, excess levels of IGF-1 have been incriminated as major causes of breast, colon, and prostate cancers
  2. Hormone use "induces an unnatural period of milk production during a cow's "negative energy phase." Milk produced during this stage is considered to be low quality due to its increased fat content and its decreased level of proteins, the court ruling states
  3. It contains increased somatic cell counts (SCC's). This means the milk contains more pus, which makes it turn sour more quickly. Increased SCC count also affects the milk's taste, smell, texture and color. Raised SCC levels is typically caused by the high incidence of mastitis in rBGH-injected cows

These are what the federal court cited as reasons to determine that hormone treated milk is different from non-treated milk.

But there's more.

Samuel S. Epstein, M.D., professor emeritus of Environmental and Occupational Medicine at the University of Illinois School of Public Health, and Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition, is one of the top experts on cancer prevention. He is frequently called upon to advise Congress about things in our environment that may cause cancer, and he has written eight books, including one of the best books on the topic at hand, called Got (Genetically Engineered) Milk?

Dr. Epstein points out several additional differences between rBGH milk and untreated milk:

  1. Contamination of the milk by the GM hormone rBGH
  2. Contamination of the milk with illegal antibiotics and drugs used to treat mastitis and other rBGH-induced disease
  3. Increased concentration of the thyroid hormone enzyme thyroxin-5'-monodeiodinase
  4. Increased concentration of long-chain and decreased concentration of short-chain fatty acids
  5. A reduction in levels of the milk protein casein

All of these factors can cause or contribute to health problems.

This Hormone KILLS Cows

It's also quite clear that it's bad for the cows that are injected with this hormone.

One 1998 survey by Family Farm Defenders found that mortality rates for rBGH-injected cows on factory dairy farms in Wisconsin were about  40 percent per year. In other words, after two and a half years of rBGH injections most of these drugged and supercharged cows were dead.

The typical lifespan of a happy, healthy dairy cow (read: organically-raised) is 15 to 20 years!

Conflict of Interest – The Name of the Game

Despite being presented with these findings and concerns, which were also echoed by other experts such as Dr. Michael Hansen from the Consumers Union back in the early 90's, the FDA gave the hormone its seal of approval, with no real pre-market safety testing required...

How did that happen?

Well, considering the fact that several key FDA decision makers, including Michael Taylor, had previously worked for Monsanto, it's easy to see how the FDA could appear to be so completely unfazed by the evidence.

This conflict of interest also explains why the FDA determined that rBGH-derived dairy products did not need to be labeled, even though polls showed that a whopping 90 percent of American consumers said they wanted labeling in order to be able to avoid buying those products.

As it turns out, all of the major criticisms leveled against rBGH have turned out to be true. Since 1994, the hormone has been banned in Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Australia and all 27 nations of the European Union.

Still holding on: the United States...

Monsanto has fought tooth and nail all these years to keep rBGH on the market. One of their sleigh-of-hand tactics was to form the grass-roots organization "The American Farmers for the Advancement and Conservation of Technology," (AFACT).

To further the Monsanto agenda, this organization defended their "right to use rBGH." They were also on the forefront pushing to outlaw "non-rBGH" labels.

Fortunately, AFACT has been largely unsuccessful in spreading their propaganda and more and more dairies have switched over to being hormone-free.

Which Dairy Brands Offer rBGH-Free Products?

For a list of brands that offer hormone-free dairy products, such as milk, yoghurt and ice cream, the Organic Consumers Organization has compiled this user-friendly list. They indicate which brands are partially rBGH-free, and which have stopped using artificial hormones entirely.

This can be good to know, since many products still do not bear the rBGH-free label.

For example, Ben & Jerry's make their ice cream with milk from dairies that have pledged not to inject their cows with hormones. But Haagen Dazs, Breyers, and Baskin-Robbins have not followed suit, and their ice creams are labeled "all-natural" even though rBGH dairy is anything but...

Keep in mind that organic milk is also rBGH-free, even if it doesn't specify so on the label. Artificial hormones are not permitted in organic dairy farming.

That said, although organic milk is certainly preferable to hormone-laced milk, I still don't recommend it simply because it's still pasteurized...

You can avoid both the risks of rBGH and pasteurization by only drinking raw milk that comes from a small farmer you know and trust. This is the only way to drink milk if you're interested in protecting your health.

RealMilk.com is an excellent resource if you need help finding a high-quality source in your area.

Get Informed and Protect Your Food Freedom

Looking at the bigger picture though, this issue is about much more than milk. It's about protecting your food supply from all sorts of manipulation -- from rBGH and pasteurization to genetically modified crops as a whole.

A key way you can begin to do this is by avoiding any and all GM products, and there are many of them. Most processed foods now contain one or more GM ingredients.

To gain some insight into how best to protect your health from manipulated foods, I recommend exploring the Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT). You can discover the many hidden hazards of GM foods for yourself at Jeffrey's Web site: ResponsibleTechnology.org.

I also highly recommend downloading and using the IRT's Non-GMO Shopping Guide.

As far as healthful, wholesome milk is concerned, I also urge you to a take a stand to protect your freedom of food choice by joining the Raw Milk Campaign to make access to raw milk a right for all Americans.

You can find Local Chapters and Chapter Leaders by sending an email to: chapters@westonaprice.org.

For more information about milk quality, listen to my interview with Mark McAfee, the founder of Organic Pastures. You can also find lots of valuable information on McAfee's website.


[+] Sources and References

Thank you! Your purchases help us support these charities and organizations.

Food Democracy Now
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Fluoride Action Network
National Vaccine Information Center
Institute for Responsible Technology
Organic Consumers Association
Center for Nutrtion Advocacy
Cornucopia Institute
Vitamin D Council
GrassrootsHealth - Vitamin D*action
Alliance for Natural Health USA
American Holistic Veterinary Medical Foundation
The Rabies Challenge Fund
Cropped Catis Mexico