Gen Mills Shifting from rBST Milk Hormones

US - US food giant General Mills has committed to reformulating its category-leading Yoplait yoghurt brand with rBST-free milk – a move it says was prompted by consumer demand.
calendar icon 23 February 2009
clock icon 1 minute read

The company announced that by August this year it plans to eliminate all milk sourced from cows treated with (recombinant bovine somatotropin), a synthetic hormone that promotes milk production in cows, writes Lorraine Heller for Dairy Reporter.

Also known as rBGH, the hormone was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1993, but has nevertheless generated heated opposition from consumers wishing to avoid it.

According to the Dairy Reporter news item, this has resulted in a host of milk and other dairy products carrying ‘rBST-free’ labels, which have, in turn, been accused of unfairly skewing the market against products that do not carry the labels.

General Mills said that although the safety of milk sourced from cows treated with rBST is not questionable, its move is designed to “provide consumers with the option” of avoiding the hormone.

““While the safety of milk from cows treated with rBST is not at issue, our consumers were expressing a preference for milk from cows not treated with rBST – and we responded,” Becky O’Grady, General Mills vice president of marketing for the Yoplait brand, told Dairy Reporter.

The company estimates that it already sources over 70 per cent of its milk from cows not treated with rBST. By August 2009, 100 per cent of its milk will be ‘rBST-free’, it said.

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