Starbucks To Stop Using Monsanto Milk

By the end of this year, Starbucks will no longer serve dairy products that contain Posilac, aka rBGH or rbST, the growth hormone manufactured by Monsanto, says a Reuters article. The company was already well on its way to cutting rBGH out of its menu—as of last month, 72% of their dairy comes from rBGH-free suppliers. According to a letter sent by Starbucks to Food & Water Watch (which has heavily campaigned against the synthetic hormone), “By December 31, 2007, all of our fluid milk, half and half, whipping cream and eggnog used in U.S. company-operated stores will be produced without the use of rBGH.”

According to the article, 30% of dairy cows today are given Posilac injections to increase milk production, and Monsanto (previously discussed here and here) has countered that the decision will have negative effects on dairy farmers who rely on Posilac for their business model.

The synthetic hormone hasn’t been proven to have any negative health effects on humans—which is why the FDA doesn’t require companies to tell consumers whether or not its in their products—but it has been linked to an increase in disease and lameness among cows, and Posilac-treated milk contains higher levels of another hormone that may be linked to health problems in humans (no connection has been proven yet).

If you’re anti-synthetic hormones in your dairy products, you may also be excited by Kroger’s announcement that its milk will be rbST-free sometime in 2008. According to Wikipedia, other companies that have shunned the rbST include Safeway, Trader Joe’s, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Braum’s Ice Cream and Dairy Stores, and Fry’s Food & Drug Stores.

[Update: We neglected to include Ben & Jerry’s, which a reader has pointed out was among the earliest commercial opponents of rBGH—they’ve been labeling their ice cream as rBGH-free since at least 1997.]

Wikipedia entry on bST and rbST
“Starbucks Letter to F&WW” [Food & Water Watch]

Posilac-free lattes [Reuters]

(Photo: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. shoegazer says:

    Those evil Starbucks folks, putting chemical doping farmers out of business!

  2. FLConsumer says:

    The only farmers who I know of that use the artificial hormones are the large-scale farmers. Your small-time farmers still do things the old fashioned way. Some of them will even sell you raw milk as long as you pay cash.

  3. Andronicus1717 says:

    Good news for smaller dairy operations.

  4. Andronicus1717 says:


    Most dairy farmers are precluded by the organization they sell their milk to from separately selling milk to anyone else, so depending on the farmer that is probably a shady deal. Selling raw milk to consumers without license is also illegal in 25, and unwise in all others due to potential litigation should someone get sick from unpasteurized milk. Having said that I grew up on a small dairy farm and nothing is better than fresh milk.

  5. Beerad says:

    Jeez, how could you forget Ben & Jerry’s in that list of companies opposing (and not using) rBGH! They were the first place (uh, first container on which?) I’d ever heard about the issue, years ago and way before they were bought by Unilever (although their green policies have been continued).

  6. suburbancowboy says:

    Monsanto may be the most evil corporation on the face of this planet.

    If you can think of a dangerous chemical, chances are they made it.
    They created DDT and Agent Orange (hard to believe that both of those came from the same company.
    Roundup and the Roundup ready soybean is another catastrophe. And they were involved in the Manhattan Project.
    Nutra-Sweet….That’s Monsanto too.
    They polluted a river so bad that if you put a fish in it, its skin came off in under two minutes and it died.
    Then Dubya appoints a former Monsanto exec to the EPA. Typical.

    Monsanto’s big thing now is GMO foods. It may prove to be the biggest environmental threat there is, possibly bigger than global warming.
    As much as I can’t stand Starbucks, I can’t say that I hate them one millionth as much as I hate Monsanto.

  7. kimsama says:

    @suburbancowboy: Monsanto also punched a baby and then bashed in my car’s windshield with a crowbar while peeing on the holy grail.

  8. mbrutsch says:

    @kimsama: And all those kittens killed when you masturbate? God doesn’t kill them – Monsanto does.

  9. hoo_foot says:

    I can’t stand Starbucks, but good. I hope this starts a trend.

  10. AbstractConcept says:

    About Time.

  11. mrdelayer says:

    Am I the only one who doesn’t care if companies use rBGH/rbST?

  12. DePaulBlueDemon says:

    Bravo, Starbucks!