For a moment, put yourself in John Elway's shoes. Imagine getting paid thousands of dollars to do a milk promotion. Now, would you still do the promotion if you knew the milk had come from a cow injected with hormones? The use of rBGH, Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone, has become a concern in the dairy industry. The controversy is over whether or not the hormone is harmful to the cows and people.
In animals and humans, there is a growth hormone produced. This protein hormone, produced in the pituitary gland, is fundamental for normal growth, development, and health maintenance. It was discovered sixty years ago that by injecting cows with GH, the growth hormone extracted from cattles' pituitary glands, milk production was increased. Using recombinant DNA processes, it became technically possible and economically feasible to produce an abundance of rBGH, which is essentially the same as pituitary derived bGH (Rachel. "Report...").
On November 5, 1993, the United States Food and Drug Administration, FDA, announced rBGH safe for use in milk cows. In February 1994, Monsanto, a chemical company, began selling its version of the drug to dairy farmers. Their form of the drug was to increase milk production by 5% to 20% (Rachel. "Hormones..."). The Consumers Union, an independent, nonprofit testing and information organization serving only consumers, made claims and presented evidence that byproducts of the hormone treatment are weighable in milk and are not safe for humans or the cow ("About..."). Today, the Consumers Union wants genetically engineered milk to be labeled so that milk consumers are able to make an informed choice about the milk they are purchasing (Rachel. "Ho...
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...tp://www.enviroweb.org/issues/biotech/bgh/nogood.html, December 12, 2000.
"Monsanto." Monsanto.com. [online], Available: http://www.monsanto.com/, December 13, 2000.
Rachel. "Hormones in Milk: No Right to Know". RACHEL'S Hazardous Waste News #381. [online], Available: http://rachel.enviroweb.org/rhwn381.htm, March 17, 1994.
Rachel. "Trouble with Milk." Milk. [online] Available: http://www.gn.apc.org/inquirer/milk.html, February 29, 1996.
"Report on the Food and Drug Administration's Review of the Safety of Recombinant Bovine Somatotropin." Report on the Food and Drug Administration's Review of the Safety of Recombinant BGH. [online], Available: http://www.biotechknowledge.com/showlib_us.php3?1308, January 21, 1999.
"We're Starting a Food Fight!" Ben & Jerry's rBGH. [online], Available: http://www.benjerry.com/bgh/index.html#what, January 7, 1997.
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