Ronnie Cummins, director of the Organic Consumers Association, says, "It‘s reached the tipping point ... Even Wal-Mart‘s customers are demanding milk free from genetically engineered hormones."
The Kroger grocery chain began selling only hormone-free milk a month ago. Safeway has switched its in-store brands to hormone-free milk, though it also sells other brands produced from cows given the hormone. Starbucks recently began using only hormone-free milk in its stores as well. Wal-Mart is not only the largest grocery retailer in the United States, it’s the largest organic retailer as well. Because of this, they also have the most organic shoppers, and Wal-Mart wants to keep these shoppers coming into their stores.
And so, you have their removal of recombinant bovine somatotropin, or rBGH, from their milk. The decision-makers at Wal-Mart are well aware of the steady stream of dairies who are eliminating Monsanto’s dangerous hormone from their milk. They’re also aware that many consumers are boycotting the hormone as well. And if there’s one thing Wal-Mart will listen to, it’s dollars and cents, and keeping rBGH in their milk was threatening some of theirs.
So while this may not have been an altruistic move on Wal-Mart’s part, it is still a positive one. And because Wal-Mart is so giant, this decision could very well push rBGH, which is already on thin ice in the United States, off the radar entirely.
Yet, rBGH-Free Milk is STILL Not Healthy
If you HAD to drink pasteurized milk, and you could choose between one WITH rBGH, and one WITHOUT it, the one without would certainly be preferable.
Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration maintains that milk with the hormone is identical to milk without it, scientists such as Dr. Michael Hansen from the Consumers Union and Dr. Samuel Epstein from the Cancer Prevention Coalition feel otherwise.
According to these two experts, milk from rBGH-injected cows contains substantially higher amounts of a potent cancer tumor promoter called IGF-1, and despite evidence that rBGH milk contains higher levels of pus, bacteria, and antibiotics, the FDA gave the hormone its seal of approval, with no real pre-market safety testing required.
So you are clearly better off avoiding this hormone.
Yet, the real question isn’t whether to drink milk with or without rBGH, it’s whether to drink milk pasteurized or raw. And there is really no question about this: the ONLY way that milk should be consumed is if it’s raw.
The funny thing is, there never used to be such a thing as “raw” milk. That would be like saying, “I want some raw lettuce” or a “raw orange.” It wasn’t until the early 1900s that pasteurization was invented, and prior to that, ALL milk was raw.
Well, just as the pot is boiling over rBGH in milk, the issue over whether raw milk should be made widely available is also heating up. And I am hopeful that one day soon the voices of the public will prompt some changes in that arena, like it did for rBGH.
So while Wal-Mart’s decision to stop carrying rBGH milk is a small step in the right direction, I’ll save my applause until Wal-Mart announces that they are now stocking their shelves with high-quality RAW milk.
Download this Non-GMO Shopping Guide to find out which dairy products to consume and to avoid.
You May Want to Rethink Shopping at Wal-Mart Anyway
Before we pat Wal-Mart on the back too much, let’s all remember that this mega-corporation is not only the “king of low prices,” it’s the king of predatory business practices as well. And while I do admire their organizational structure, I do not set foot in Wal-Mart stores because of their abusive business practices and the way they are helping to degrade organic food standards.
For example, Penn State University researchers estimate some 20,000 American families have dropped below the poverty level due to the astounding growth of Wal-Mart between 1987 and 1998. And in counties where Wal-Mart stores are located, more than 15 percent of families depend on food stamps, compared to the national norm of 8 percent.
You can find out more details on the perils of the growth of Wal-Mart by watching "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price."
When you do, you may come to the same conclusion I did many years ago, which is that local farmers and food coops will always be a better place to buy your food than any giant superstore like Wal-Mart.