Labeling: rBGH-Free Dairy
Consumers have rejected Monsanto's recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH). The hormone is still legal, but it's so unpopular among consumers that more and more mainstream dairy companies are going rBGH-free. And Monsanto is a sore loser.
Recently, Monsanto has begun a new effort. Or, rather, renewed an old effort. They do not want dairy producers to label their products "rBGH-free." They tried suing over this a while back, but the judicial branch did not come through for them. Now they are going around the country trying one state at a time to see if either the legislative or executive branches will give them what they want.
First, they went to Pennsylvania, where PA Secretary of Agriculture Dennis Wolff banned rBGH-free labels on their behalf. On his side was the Pennsylvania Food Labeling Advisory Committee - which included a "consumer advocate" who was actually a lobbyist. After tens of thousands of letters opposing the ban flooded the governor's office, Gov. Rendell overturned the ban.
Next up were New Jersey and Ohio. New Jersey rejected Monsanto's label ban quickly, but Ohio was a different story. For example, take a look at this Ohio State University Dairy Management Specialist claiming that only crazy fringe groups oppose biotechnology. Like in Pennsylvania, Monsanto made sure to have a former Monsanto employee represent their side while posing as a "consumer advocate." Again, consumers responded with a flood of letters and emails.
Other states where Monsanto has or currently is trying to push their label ban include Indiana, Utah, Kansas, and Missouri (as of March 21, 2008).
Recipe for America opposes banning rBGH-free labels and would like to see all dairy products from cows treated with rBGH labeled as such. You can take action by writing to Kansas State Senators, Richard Clark in Utah, or Missouri State Representatives. Stay tuned as this issue unfolds in more states.
More informationAlterNet: 'Frankenfoods' Giant Monsanto Plays Bully Over Consumer Labeling (article) March 6, 2008.
AP: Proposed Hormone Label Rule For Milk Inflaming Organic Producers (Ohio) (article) March 11, 2008.
DailyKos: Pennsylvania Bans Labeling Hormone-FREE Milk (blog entry) November 25, 2007.
DailyKos: Say it LOUD! We Use rBGH and We're PROUD! (Missouri) (blog entry) March 1, 2008.
DailyKos: Sleazy Monsanto Tactics... Coming Soon to a State Near You (blog entry) January 13, 2008.
DailyKos: Victory in PA (Your Letters and Phone Calls Worked!) (blog entry) January 18, 2008.
Ethicurean: An Open Letter to Monsanto (blog entry) February 20, 2008.
Got rBST-Free Milk? (blog entry) February 28, 2008.
Indiana's Labeling Bill HB 1300 (web site) January 15, 2008.
Milk Label Rules to be Submitted as Written (Ohio) (article) March 15, 2008.
Missouri House Bill 2283 (news source) Referred to the Special Committee on Agribusiness, February 28, 2008.
Missouri Senate Bill 1279 (news source) Referred to the Senate Agriculture, Conservation, Parks & Natural Resources Committee on March 3, 2008.
Monsanto Wants to Ban U.S. Milk Labelling, Hiding Food Info From Consumers (article) March 6, 2008.
New Choices Mean Controversy For Milk (New York) (article) March 11, 2008.
NYT: Fighting on a Battlefield the Size of a Milk Label (article) March 9, 2008.
Ohio's Dairy Label Rule Upsets Processors, Retailers (article) About Ohio's hearing over rBGH-free labeling. March 12, 2008.
Op Ed: Food Labeling Law Isn't For Our Protection (Kansas) (article) February 28, 2008.
Op Ed: It Is Your Right to Know (article) Very humorous and wonderful editorial, March 12, 2008.
Op Ed: Milk Labeling - Hardly a Threat (Kansas) (article) March 2, 2008.
Op Ed: Mystery milk: Rule change would keep consumers in the dark (Utah) (article) February 28, 2008.
USA Today: Milk Hormone Label Debate Continues (article) March 11, 2008.
OrganizationsAFACT: A Bullshit Monsanto-Sponsored Astroturf Group (organization) "American Farmers for the Advancement and Conservation of Technology"
Food and Water Watch (organization) Stay informed by signing up for Food & Water Watch's alerts.
Physicians for Social Responsibility, Oregon Chapter (organization) PSR is active in the campaign to preserve rBGH-free labels across the country.
Take actionMissouri Action Alert by the Center for Food Safety (web site) March 2008. Missouri residents only, please.
Missouri Action Alert from Food and Water Watch (web site) March 2008. Missouri residents only, please.
Ohio Action Alert by Food and Water Watch (web site) Ohio residents only, please. March 2008.
Ohio Action Alert from CREDO (web site) For Ohio residents only please. March 2008.