Hormones and Milk, is there Cause for Concern?

US - Recent hype regarding Starbuck’s transition over to rBGH-free milk has Monsanto, the maker of the synthetic hormone Posilac bovine somatotropin (bST), on the defense. To prove the safety of their product, Monsanto funded a third-party research group who randomly selected 213 packages of milk from grocers’ shelves and proceeded to test their hormone, antibiotic, and nutrient levels. Though their results showed no difference in the milks, many in the scientific community have written the study off as irrelevant. It seems that none of the milks were confirmed as coming from cows treated with Posilac. So what should we know about synthetic hormones in our milk supply?
calendar icon 30 January 2007
clock icon 2 minute read
The excerpt below offers an easy to read explanation of hormones and antibiotics in the milk industry and their impact. It comes directly from the new guide book "Dairy Free Made Easy: Thousands of Foods, Hundreds of Recipes, and Dozens of Tips for Dairy Free Living." The author, Alisa Fleming, goes beyond the usual ’what to eat’ lists with important information on understanding milk. From nutrients to processing, Fleming wants to ensure that individuals know what they may and may not be missing when choosing a dairy-free diet:

Organic milk is still cow’s milk. It contains all of the same proteins (i.e. casein), fats (i.e. saturated), sugars (i.e. lactose), and cholesterol that may be a problem for allergies, intolerances, special diets, and general health. However, for those who can and do consume even small amounts of dairy, organic milk appears to be well worth the extra cost.

Milk repeatedly makes the top ten lists for foods you should buy organic. Why? Beyond the many social implications and dangerous pesticides, U.S. Organic Milk is also guaranteed free of antibiotics and hormones. Are hormones and antibiotics in the foods supply a true concern, or has the issue been stretched a bit too far by organic farmers and anti-milk campaigners?

I was curious to know, so I pooled together hard (unbiased) facts as evidenced by regulations and scientific studies. Whether you would like to include some dairy products in your diet, or you could use another reason to go dairy-free, the following offers some important information on hormones and antibiotics in the dairy industry that you may find interesting:

Why dairy farmers use synthetic hormones…
  • Bovine Growth Hormone, or BGH, is a naturally occurring hormone in cows that stimulates the production of another hormone, IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor-1). IGF-1 in turn initiates the production of milk.
  • The FDA approved the use of rBGH, a synthetic version of BGH, in 1993. The injection of rBGH into cows has become standard practice on many dairy farms, as it has the ability to unnaturally increase a cow’s output of milk by up to 20% (according to the rBGH manufacturer). Higher production per cow means a better bottom line for the dairy farmer.
The effect of synthetic hormone use on humans…
  • Cows treated with rBGH produce greater levels of IGF-1. In fact, numerous studies have confirmed that cows treated with rBGH produce milk with 2 to 10 times the levels of IGF-1 found in an untreated cow’s milk.
  • The IGF-1 found in cows is a bio-identical hormone to the IGF-1 produced by humans.
Source: WebWire
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