rbGH milk ruled "compositionally different" by Ohio court
2. rbGH Milk ruled 'compositionally different' in Ohio
1. Organic dairy products produced free from synthetic growth hormones Consumers Win Right to Know
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals invalidates key portions of Ohio Dept. of Agriculture rule and protects consumers' and producers' rights to truthful information on organic product labels
Organic Trade Association
September 30, 2010
”¨Washington, D.C. (Sept. 30, 2010) ”” The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit today ruled in favor of the Organic Trade Association (OTA) in a landmark case that would have prevented consumers in Ohio from knowing whether products on grocery store shelves were produced without synthetic growth hormones.
"OTA believes consumers have a right to know how their food was produced, and organic farmers and manufacturers should be allowed to tell them," said Christine Bushway, CEO of OTA, the leading voice for the $26.6 billion organic industry in North America. "We are pleased the court agrees," added Bushway.
In order to qualify for the organic label, organic farmers are prohibited from using synthetic growth hormones (rBGH), genetically engineered organisms (GMOs), antibiotics and toxic, persistent, synthetic pesticides. The standards also mandate a rigorous system for inspection, certification and verification of organic practices, all of which protect consumers who choose organic foods.
The court’s decision upholds consumers' rights to receive truthful information about organic production practices on the labels of their milk and other dairy products. Additionally, it recognizes the rights of organic dairy farmers and processors to communicate truthfully with consumers regarding federally regulated organic production practices under the USDA Organic seal. As a result of this victory for organic, consumers will continue to see truthful information on organic product labels in Ohio and across the country.
The Organic Trade Association and its members, including Horizon Organic®, Organic Valley®, and Stonyfield Farm®, filed the appeal in conjunction with the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA).
The overwhelming majority of Americans seeks this information on product labels. The Consumer Reports National Research Center polled more than 1,000 people nationwide on various food labeling issues; some 76% of those polled were concerned with 'dairy cows given synthetic growth hormones' and 88% agreed that ‘milk from cows raised without synthetic bovine growth hormone should be allowed to be labeled as such.’
The United States is in the minority among industrialized nations by allowing the use of synthetic growth hormones to artificially stimulate milk production in dairy herds. The practice is already prohibited in Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and in the 27 countries of the European Union.
The best way for consumers to be sure they are choosing products produced without the use of synthetic growth hormones (rBGH), genetically engineered organisms (GMOs), antibiotics and toxic and persistent pesticides is to look for the organic label.
2. rbGH Milk Ruled 'Compositionally Different' in Ohio
October 1st, 2010 By Jill Richardson
Originally published on La Vida Locavore
Remember way back when when several states tried to ban “rbGH-free” claims on dairy? This was a few years ago now. Monsanto, who owned rbGH at the time, helped found a group of rbGH-loving dairy farmers called AFACT. AFACT then pushed to ban any label claims telling consumers which milk came from cows that had not been treated with rbGH.
Naturally, that sparked tons of consumer outrage, and ultimately AFACT was unsuccessful in most states where they tried this.
Save for Ohio. Ohio was the one last state where it looked like they might win. Ultimately the fight went to the courts. But yesterday brought BIG news of a court decision in Ohio. The less significant news out of the court is that milk in Ohio can still say “rbGH-free” but it must also contain an FDA disclaimer saying “[t]he FDA has determined that no significant difference has been shown between milk derived from rbST-supplemented and non-rbST-supplemented cows.”
Now, here’s the BIG news. The court challenged the FDA’s finding that there is “no measurable compositional difference” between milk from rbGH-treated cows and milk from untreated cows. According to those who have worked on this issue for nearly two decades now (maybe more), the FDA’s claim that there was no compositional difference between milk from rbGH-treated and untreated cows was THE MAJOR roadblock to any good regulation. And the court finally struck it down, citing three reasons why the milk differs:
* Increased levels of the hormone IGF-1;
* A period of milk with lower nutritional quality during each lactation; and
* Increased somatic cell counts (i.e. more pus in the milk).
Below, you will find the exact language of the court’s ruling. The testimony submitted to the FDA’s Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee all the way back in 1993 by Michael Hansen, Senior Scientist at Consumers’ Union can be read here. Amazing how it only took 17 years to get the truth legally recognized.
The ruling said:
The district court held that the composition claims were inherently misleading because 'they imply a compositional difference between those products that are produced with rb[ST] and those that are not,' in contravention of the FDA’s finding that there is no measurable compositional difference between the two. This conclusion is belied by the record, however, which shows that, contrary to the district court’s assertion, a compositional difference does exist between milk from untreated cows and conventional milk (“conventional milk,” as used throughout this opinion, refers to milk from cows treated with rbST). As detailed by the amici parties seeking to strike down the Rule, the use of rbST in milk production has been shown to elevate the levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), a naturally-occurring hormone that in high levels is linked to several types of cancers, among other things. The amici also point to certain studies indicating that rbST use induces an unnatural period of milk production during a cow’s “negative energy phase.” According to these studies, milk produced during this stage is considered to be low quality due to its increased fat content and its decreased level of proteins. The amici further note that milk from treated cows contains higher somatic cell counts, which makes the milk turn sour more quickly and is another indicator of poor milk quality. This evidence precludes us from agreeing with the district court’s conclusion that there is no compositional difference between the two types of milk. In addition, and more salient to the regulation of composition claims like “rbST free,” the failure to discover rbST in conventional milk is not necessarily because the artificial hormone is absent in such milk, but rather because scientists have been unable to perfect a test to detect it. [emphasis added]
Originally published on La Vida Locavore