An astroturfing group started by chemical supergiant Monsanto is trying to stop the spread of milk that’s free of bovine synthetic growth hormone. They say they’re trying to defend farmer’s rights but they can’t fool us, we know they really just want to make the future safe for large breasts. [NYT]

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  1. Prosumerist says:

    It wouldn’t be a good morning without an evil Monsanto news update.

  2. Klaus_Kinsky says:

    This is ironic since Monsanto actually invented astroturf. No really– the original astroturf.

  3. batdan says:

    As I understand it the hormones they use naturally occur in the cows, and the things that make into the milk we drink are just slightly elevated levels of things that are normally in milk. Our bodies produce these same hormones anyway, in much higher levels than we get from milk.

    But either way if people want milk from cows not treated with the hormone, they should be able to get it. These kind of tactics won’t accomplish anything other than making Monsanto look bad, and making people distrust them.

  4. apotheosis says:

    They say they’re trying to defend farmer’s rights but they can’t fool us, we know they really just want to make the future safe for large breasts.

    Quite possibly the most counterproductive demonization of a corporate monster ever.

  5. arch05 says:

    proofread for fuck’s sake

  6. vladthepaler says:

    Your web site isn’t rendering properly anymore. Whatever you changed over the weekend, please change it back.

  7. B says:

    I don’t want to live in a world that’s not safe for large breasts.

  8. mac-phisto says:

    i bought some “artificial growth hormone free” half & half this morning. it was actually the same price as the other stuff (which may or may not contain rBST).

    the way i look at it, i get enough growth hormone from my water, i don’t need them to fortify my milk w/ it too. XD

  9. RIP MRHANDS says:

    @vladthepaler: Don’t know if this applies to you or not, but the new stylesheet was being blocked by AdBlock Plus in Firefox. I added an exception rule to it and things were all dandy afterwards.

  10. apotheosis says:

    @vladthepaler:

    I also noticed it acting wonkier than usual in IE, but it seems to be rendering fine in Firefox.

  11. Xkeeper says:

    As I understand it the hormones they use naturally occur in the cows …

    @batdan:

    Testosterone is something that ocurs naturally in humans. However, just because it’s naturally produced doesn’t mean that it’s safe in dosages higher than what’s natural.

    Usual “I am not a (professional job involving subject)” disclaimer applies.

  12. DrGirlfriend says:

    Oh Monsanto. I do have to admire your total commitment to sinking to the lowest depths possible. In this short-attention-span generation, such focus and drive are, indeed, rare.

  13. kimsama says:

    Yeah, again, the issue isn’t that rBST is unsafe, the issue is that people have the right to know if it was used on the cattle that their milk came from and to decide for themselves. It looks like people are deciding they don’t like it.

    Why does Monsanto have a problem with this? Certainly not because such labels are misleading. Looking at a label here in my office, it says “From cows not treated with rBGH*” and the * says “According to the F.D.A., there is no difference between milk from cows that are treated with rBGH and from those that are not.” That’s pretty damn clear, Monsanto. People can read that and then decide for themselves whether to trust the FDA (Vioxx, Chinese suppliers, etc) and Monsanto.

    Monsanto’s really having a problem with this because it hurts their bottom line.

    But what really bugs me about the article is this quote:

    Kevin Holloway, president of the Monsanto dairy unit, gave a speech in which he said the “fundamental issue” was dairy farmers’ ability to choose the best technology. “Dairy farmer choice to use a variety of F.D.A.-approved technologies is at risk,” he said.

    Um, no it’s not. They can keep choosing to use it, if they want to have fewer and fewer outlets to sell their milk to, or if they want to sell it cheaper. Just like I can choose to sell 3.5″ floppy disks, which no one will buy.

    If consumers don’t want it, it’s completely irrational to use bully tactics to hide its use. A more progressive business might see the trend in what consumers want and try to give what they want to them, for a price (oh, hey, that’s what organic/non-rBST dairy farmers are doing). Monsanto wants to force consumers to buy milk treated with their products through unfair manipulation of the market and lobbying. And that’s bullshit.

  14. csdiego says:

    I love how they keep going on about FDA approval and how the FDA says milk produced with rBST is totally safe. In other words: “We bought the FDA, and now you’re telling me we have to buy off individual consumers too?”

  15. mac-phisto says:

    you know what this group needs? a spokesperson to put a good face on everything. i hear roger clemens has some free time…

  16. Mr. Gunn says:

    kimsama: What if a small dairy started marketing their milk as “mutated albumin” free? They could also argue that consumers have the right to know if their milk contains mutated albumin.

    In fact, I think that’d be a clever move, because if the FDA never stepped in and said, “you know, guys, there are all kinds of albumin variants, and no health risk have been shown from them” then the big companies would either have to spend large amounts of money to prove their milk didn’t contain mutated albumin or take the sales hit from consumers who are scared off by the fear of something they don’t understand.

    Do you see what’s going on now?

  17. kimsama says:

    @Mr. Gunn: I don’t see dairies with labels saying “lead free!” or “from selenium-free cattle!” so your attempt to paint this as a tricksy game played by dairies seems like reaching. rBGH is banned in many other countries, and some people think that’s reason enough to be dubious of its use. Consumers have expressed concern, and dairies that don’t use it on their cattle can provide them with information that eases that concern.

    I simply am on the side of having transparent, truthful processes in our food supply. The alternative is not pretty.

    There is no reason Monsanto can’t run an ad campaign reassuring people rBGH is safe and no reason they should have to hide a “safe” additive. There’s also no reason people should have to believe their claims, nor those of the fallible FDA.

    Last I checked, this blog was about defending consumer rights, so yeah, I’m a little confused at the defense of removing consumer information from labels.

  18. kc2idf says:

    @batdan:

    As I understand it the hormones they use naturally occur in the cows, and the things that make into the milk we drink are just slightly elevated levels of things that are normally in milk. Our bodies produce these same hormones anyway, in much higher levels than we get from milk.

    While this may be true, you have to weigh in on the side-effects to the cow’s health. If adding rBGH to the cow causes, for instance (talking out of my ass here), an increase in the susceptibility to infection by one or another bovine ailment, then that is going to taint the quality of the milk.

    Let me draw a parallel. For the benefit of those people who have underfunctioning or nonfunctioning thyroid glands, there exist a number of synthetic substitutes in pill form. Taking these gives the hypothyroid an increase in energy. Logically, then, it would seem that if you want an energy boost, you should take this stuff.

    Unfortunately, what happens then is not pretty. Imagine what happens when you have a caffeine overdose, multiplied many times over.

    So, you are probably wondering what my point is. Your assertion is that since a body is generating it anyway, addition of this is harmless. This is not so. You may further assert that it is harmless to the consumer of milk, even if not to the cow, to add these hormones, to which I can only say “maybe”. I tend to think that what is harmful to the cow may be harmful to the milk drinker.

    But either way if people want milk from cows not treated with the hormone, they should be able to get it. These kind of tactics won’t accomplish anything other than making Monsanto look bad, and making people distrust them.

    This is absolutely true. Likewise true, we should know where genetic engineering has been applied, along with some other bits of biological tinkering that our food industry seems to be so keen on.

  19. STrRedWolf says:

    And what’s so wrong with large breasts?

  20. @arch05: Though I’m not sure if this instance is a case of a typo, as opposed to a joke, I do hate that so many people these days think that spellcheck = proofread

  21. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    @alphafemale: Huh?

  22. taka2k7 says:

    @mac-phisto:

    the way i look at it, i get enough growth hormone from my water, i don’t need them to fortify my milk w/ it too.

    LOL

  23. The government will do whatever Monsanto wants them to do. Donald Rumsfeld used to be CEO of Searle (a Monsanto Subsidiary, and creator of Nutra -Sweet).
    The FDA approved Nutra-Sweet without going through any of its normal testing. Aspartame was never supposed to be legal in beverages because it becomes highly unstable.

    October 15, 1982– The FDA announces that Searle has filed a petition that aspartame be approved as a sweetener in carbonated beverages and other liquids.

    July 1, 1983– The National Soft Drink Association (NSDA) urges the FDA to delay approval of aspartame for carbonated beverages pending further testing because aspartame is very unstable in liquid form. When liquid aspartame is stored in temperatures above 85 degrees Fahrenheit, it breaks down into DKP and formaldehyde, both of which are known toxins.

    July 8, 1983– The National Soft Drink Association drafts an objection to the final ruling which permits the use of aspartame in carbonated beverages and syrup bases and requests a hearing on the objections. The association says that Searle has not provided responsible certainty that aspartame and its’ degradation products are safe for use in soft drinks.

    [www.rense.com]

    Monsanto is The most evil corporation on the planet.

  24. Shadowfire says:

    @suburbancowboy: No. Just… no. The BS about Aspartame is well known as an internet myth. You can even find it on snopes.com.

  25. thirdeye213 says:

    @Shadowfire:

    what are you talking about? suburbancowboy even credited his source, and I’ve never known ANYONE to doubt the veracity of rense.com

  26. Shadowfire says:

    @thirdeye213: Simply put, if you inject too much of any chemical into a rat, it is going to get cancer. It’s the same as the saccharine scare, where the amount of the chemical you would need to injest would simply be impossible to achieve – your stomach couldn’t handle the amount of soda you would need to drink.

  27. Chigaimasmaro says:

    Too much of anything is bad. Working too much, bad. Eating too much, bad. Heck, even drinking too much water is bad. The addition of more growth hormones into cows, even though it may be “safe” for the cow, doesn’t mean its good its safe for everyone else. Just like a mother that is breastfeeding a baby, variously nutrients, proteins and hormones are transferred to the child. Same with the cow; where are those extra hormones going when they aren’t used up by the cows system? More than likely they are passed through urine or the milk.

    So this is another case of caring about money more than people. We need to complain more as consumers. I think we don’t complain enough to stop these issues.

  28. cerbie says:

    @Shadowfire:
    [en.wikipedia.org]
    [en.wikipedia.org]
    [en.wikipedia.org]

    Much less bias. Snopes and its related links on the subject actually say nothing to refute the stuff suburbancowboy linked and pasted, that I saw. It specifically refutes claims about some MS lawsuit stuff. Meanwhile, Wikipedia, with citations, pretty much lines up (I didn’t exactly go and check every date, though). Check the endnotes of the third link.

    @thirdeye213: Rense.com can actually be a good source of info for many topics. I mean, look at all the inside guys that have been found involved in making 9/11 happen. It just fits together too well to have been incompetency and lack of communication between separate organizations. :| :] :P :D
    What can I say—I like conspiracy theories, and they have some real info sprinkled amongst them.