Ban on labeling milk as rBGH-free struck down as unconstitutional in recent Ohio appeal court decision

RBGH is a growth hormone designed to increase milk production. And it’s made by Monsanto Eli Lilly. Here’s an excerpt from a report by Helena Bottemiller on Bill Marler’s “Food Safety News”:

"Our Friend the Cow", indeed! No mention of bovine growth hormone use here, but that would certainly fit right in with this model of exploitive dairying. Picture via the Lovenati blog.

“After more than two years of litigation, a federal court last week struck down an Ohio ban on labeling dairy products as “rbGH free,” “rbST free,” or “artificial hormone free” if produced by cows not treated with bovine growth hormone.

In what could prove to be a landmark case, the Sixth Circuit Court of  Appeals ruled that Ohio’s absolute ban on hormone-free claims violated dairy processors’ First Amendment rights and was “more extensive than necessary to serve the state’s interest in preventing consumer deception.”

Perhaps more notable, the court also ruled that rbST-treated milk is compositionally different, disagreeing with both the lower court’s ruling and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s finding that there is no significant difference between milk produced by cows treated with rbST and by those without.

As NPR reported Friday, the court cites three reasons milk produced by rbST-treated cows is different: 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).  The court further noted that higher somatic cell counts indicate milk is poor quality and will turn sour more quickly.

“This evidence precludes us from agreeing with the district court’s conclusion that there is no compositional difference between the two types of milk,” reads the opinion.

When it approved rbST, FDA ruled that milk from cows given the synthetic hormone is not significantly different than milk from cows not treated with the hormone and is safe for consumption.  The agency did not require labeling for products produced with rbST, which can increase milk production by as much as 10 percent.  In the years following approval, however, voluntary labeling for dairies opting out of using the hormone has gone mainstream.

In 2008, the Ohio Department of Agriculture instituted a state-wide ban on using any hormone-free claims on dairy products.  The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) filed suit in June of 2008 and the Organic Trade Association joined the case when IDFA filed its appeal….”

Read it all on Food Safety News.

Lead picture is from this blog. Excerpt below from the post that includes the picture. FOUL LANGUAGE WARNING:

How can you be happy if you eat sad cows?

If you were a cow and you had been grazing on grass for centuries and some guy in a suit made you eat birthday cake for breakfast lunch and dinner, you’d feel like shit right?  Like Halloween ’88 when I defied my mother and ate all my candy in a week.  I was miserable.  I threw up.  I crashed so hard I told Matt O’Brien, the most popular guy in school, that I loved him more than that cheerleader slut Holly.  In retrospect, I see it was the peanut butter chocolate ghosts doing all the talking.   What if on top of that feeling you were pregnant all the time for the rest of your life and they hooked your tits up to machines that sucked the milk from your body?  I’m pretty fuckin pissed off right now and I’m just menstruating for a few days.

Well, most American cows are being fed corn (a super starch) instead of grass and injected with growth hormones that make them give lots of milk….”

Read the rest of that here.

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