NOTE: The following comments on the Monsanto GM hormone used in much U.S. milk production, but banned throughout the rest of the industrialised world, come from John Verrall, who is a pharmaceutical chemist with over 35 years experience in the pharmaceutical industry, working with both human and veterinary medicines.
John Verrall is also a member of the UK's Veterinary Products Committee (VPC), and is on the Codex Consumer Group of the Food Standards Agency. He also attends the recently formed UK government committee concerned with Animal Health and Welfare chaired by the Chief Veterinary Officer.
Re. - Philadelphia Inquirer Online, 12/23/2007, Front Page - 'Hormone Labeling of Pa. Milk to End'
It was with interest I read this headline on Sunday 23rd December, 'Hormone labeling of Pa. Milk to end - It can unfairly imply that milk from injected cows isn't safe, officials say.'
To make such a statement 'officials' are grossly irresponsible and if Agricultural Secretary Dennis Wolff and his committee end the labelling of milk from cows not administered bovine somatotropin (rbST) they will be guilty of putting at risk the lives of the citizens of Pennsylvania.
It has been demonstrated that milk from cows administered bovine somatotropin is NOT SAFE (ie not 'free from danger' - Collins Dictionary, not 'protected from danger or risk' - Oxford English Dictionary) with increased levels of IGF1 (growth hormone) such milk gives rise to 'concern about enhanced cell proliferation of the gut mucosa and therefore increased prevalence of carcinoma in the large bowel.'
See also Challacombe and Wheeler (Lancet 1994 344, 815-816)
Not only is the milk derived from rbST not safe, but so is bovine somatotropin itself, when administered to cows.
A detailed inquiry by the both the UK Veterinary Products Committee (VPC) in 1999 (http://www.vpc.gov.uk/reports/rbstreptb.pdf ) and the Report of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association Expert Panel on rbST (http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/vet/issues-enjeux/rbst-stbr/rep_cvma-rap_acdv_tc-tm_e.html ) concluded that:
'the use of Bovine Somatotropin adversely affects the health and welfare of the cow'.
It has been proven that in cattle receiving rbST injections, there are increases in the incidence of:
Mastitis* - by 25%
Lameness - by 50%
Infertility - by 18%
& Adverse reactions at the injection site - 'the presence of lesions have often not fully regressed before the next injection is due.'
(* See Millstone et al http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v371/n6499/abs/371647a0.html
[Article also available here http://www.unsafescience.com/bgh.html ])
With a marked increase in the incidence of mastitis (an infection of the udder), lesions at the site of injection, and stress-related conditions of lameness and infertility, the cow becomes an overworked rundown 'factory' more likely to produce sub-standard milk - with an increased possibility of both infection and /or the presence of antibiotics used to combat such conditions.
At the time Monsanto marketed bovine somatotropin in 1994, none of the above untoward affects and hazards was made apparent. It was stated by the manufacturers and supporting scientific staff, that the increased incidence of mastitis was only in line with the increased milk yield; yet this proved not to be the case. It was also stated that the increased production of IGF1 (a growth hormone), following the administration of rbST, was destroyed by pasteurisation and in the gut by natural digestion neither is the case; the increased IGF1 produced in the milk is protected from normal digestion by the casein in milk, suggested by Mepham and Schofield (Health Aspects of bST Milk), indicated by Xian et al (J. Endocrinol. 146, 215-224) and subsequently proven by Kimura et al (JPET 28.3 611-687 1997).
No chronic toxicity testing of rbST has been reported; the longest test involved the administration of rbST to thirty rats over ninety days.
Since neither man nor beast derives any therapeutic benefit from the use of bovine somatotropin, the only possible beneficiaries could be the dairyman and the manufacturer of bovine somatotropin.
If one refers to the paper, 'The Impact of Bovine Somatotropin on Farm Profits,' by Loren W. Tauer of Cornell University; under 'Conclusion' she states, 'The average profit response from the use of bST was statistically zero, but larger and well-managed farms may be making a profit from bST. That implies that some farmers may be losing money using bST, although no statistical negative profit response from bST was measured from any sub-group.'
-- So there is only one beneficiary.
Should the population of Pennsylvania not be concerned with the sufferings of the cow due to increased mastitis, lameness, infertility and injection site lesions, they should be extremely concerned for their own health.
When available evidence gives rise to such concern regarding matters of human health, we in Europe (with a population of 490 million ) normally abide by 'The Precautionary Principle' - when in doubt 'err on the side of caution, until such time as the matter has been investigated further - and resolved.
Monsanto is quite correct in one thing, that to describe milk derived from cows not administered rbST as 'Hormone Free,' is incorrect, as all milk does contain small quantities of hormone. However, the truth is that milk produced by cows; administered bovine somatotropin (rbST) is not safe.
Perhaps in future, dairies and distributors could adopt an identification which does not say 'Hormone Free' but, for example:[image of 'McNAB' label as at
McNAB = Milk from Cows Not Administered Bovine Somatotropin
Or just a simple 'Natural Milk' label, to which no one could object!
John Verrall MRPS, DBA
Battle, E. Sussex, UK