There are two types of dairy products. Those dairy products derived from cows carefully raised on organic dairy farms and those cows who are force-fed GMO corn, confined in pens, knee-deep in urine soaked manure, pumped up on hormones, steroids and antibiotics. We applaud the conscientious organic farmers who are not the subject of this blog.
Bovine growth hormone occurs naturally in dairy cows and is present in all raw milk. However, a synthetic form of this hormone called rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone or artificial growth hormone) is produced by Monsanto, the same manufacturer of Napalm, herbicides, pesticides and genetically modified seeds.
Monsanto developed the rBGH artificial growth hormone by inserting a coded gene into the DNA of the E. coli bacterium. Yes, that is the same E. coli bacteria found in eggs, vegetables and fast foods that has caused injury and death throughout the U.S.
When injected into dairy cows, rBGH induces the cows to artificially increase milk production 10 to15% and in some cases as much as 40%. But the rGBH (like steroids in humans) causes the cows to crave more protein. One of the cheapest protein sources is slaughterhouse waste, which is how rBGH became linked to mad cow disease in the first place. The result is that rGBH makes dairy cows more susceptible to disease.
As summarized in the book, Mad Cow USA:
“One activist characterized rBGH as ‘crack for cows’ [and just as addicting]. It forces cows to produce more milk at the price of increased stress on their overall health, exacerbating illnesses such as mastitis, and mining the calcium from their bones. In order to achieve the higher levels of milk production, cows needed to consume more energy-dense food, adding to the pressure for farmers to use protein and fat supplements derived from rendered animals – the feeding practice which had created the BSE [mad cow disease] epidemic in the first place.”
Since the introduction of synthetic rBGH injections given to dairy cows, studies have shown multiple reproductive problems causing a significant increase in the number of calves born deformed or with other birth defects. Cows have also shown a 50% increase in lameness and a 25% increase in mastitis, a painful bacterial infection of the udder which causes sores and lesions and the secretion of pus, blood and virulent bacteria into the milk.
According to a 2000 article in the New England Journal of Medicine, in 1989, Monsanto became aware of the problems and “In order to deal with the problem, Monsanto’s top dairy scientist, Margaret Miller, left the firm and became FDA’s Monsanto ‘plant’.
Once at FDA, Dr. Miller arbitrarily changed the existing antibiotic standard. She “increased by 100 times the allowable level of antibiotics that farmers could put into milk.” As a result, new strains of bacteria developed in dairy cows that had become immune to existing antibiotics.
Despite the objections of consumer and health advocacy groups such as the Consumers Union and Cancer Prevention Coalition, the FDA approved the use of rBGH in 1993.
Their approval was based on a single study funded by Monsanto who insisted the synthetic hormone was harmless after carrying out tests on 30 rats over a mere 90-day period. How could the FDA have expected any different outcome? Monsanto insists that 90% of the synthetic hormones are removed during pasteurization. No one agrees with their position based upon subsequent research and test results.
Despite Monsanto’s specious claims, there is a significant body of scientific data that has linked rBGH to increases in antibiotic resistance in humans. Numerous other studies found that rBGH increases breast, prostate, colon, lung and other cancers in humans.
In Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the countries of the European Union, the governments banned the use of rBGH entirely in 2000. It is Europe’s reasoning that anything which negatively affects cattle or dairy cows also affects humans, either directly or when passed down through the dairy cow’s milk. Most scientists and researchers in the U.S. agree with this concept.
But, Big Food and the FDA don’t. The United States is the only developed nation to permit humans to drink milk or other dairy products from cows given artificial growth hormones. It is now contained in every dairy product sold in stores, including diet foods.
Shortly after rBGH received FDA approval, Monsanto founded and funded the American Farmers for the Advancement and Conservation of Technology (AFACT) to push for laws banning any label delineating a milk as rBGH-free.
In effect, Monsanto tried to stop competition from organic milk producers. Consumer outrage and lobbying efforts from organic associations prevented these laws from passing in all states except Ohio.
The law in Ohio was challenged in the courts by the Organic Trade Association and the International Dairy Foods Association. In September 2010, a three-judge panel of 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that milk in Ohio can still say “rbGH-free” on its label. The court challenged the FDA’s finding that there is “no measurable compositional difference” between milk from rBGH-treated cows and milk from untreated cows.
The FDA’s claim that there was no compositional difference between milk from rBGH-treated cows and milk from untreated cows was debunked by the court. The court cited several reasons why the milk from rBGH cows differs including increased levels of the hormone IGF-1, lower nutritional quality and more pus in the milk.
IGF-1 or Insulin-like Growth Factor is a hormone similar in molecular structure to insulin and responsible for tissue and muscle growth in humans. It has been linked to several types of cancers and liver damage.
According to Jenny Pompilio, a doctor with the Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, “elevated levels of IGF-1 can promote cancers in humans, specifically cancers such as breast, prostate and colorectal cancer.”
Michael Hansen, Senior Scientist at Consumers’ Union, offered studies indicating that rBGH use induces an unnatural period of milk production during a cow’s “negative energy phase”.
According to these studies, milk produced during this stage is considered to be low quality due to its increased fat content and its decreased level of proteins. Experts noted that milk from treated cows contains higher somatic cell counts which makes the milk turn sour more quickly and is another indicator of poor quality.
Synthetic hormones have been used by bodybuilders and some sports figures to gain weight and bulk up. Sadly, babies and children who drink milk tainted with rBGH synthetic hormones will likely gain weight and bulk up in the same manner as the dairy cows and bodybuilders.
In 1999, one of the European Union’s most respected scientists, Dr. Alpad Pusztai found that genetically modified foods can, when fed to animals in reasonable amounts, cause very gradual organ and immune system damage.
Shortly after the article was published, the story was discredited and withdrawn by his employer, the Rowett Institute. Efforts to discredit Dr. Pusztai were linked by the British press to a $230,000 Monsanto-funded grant to the Rowett Institute. Subsequently more than 20 world-renowned scientists published papers supporting Dr. Pusztai’s research and restoring his credibility.
Once again, Monsanto targeted someone who dared to publicly voice scientific data that endangered the sales of their products.
Scientists around the world have warned that GMO crops and synthetic hormones can harm our ability to fight fatal diseases such as meningitis, typhoid and Aids-related illnesses with penicillin and other antibiotics.
There can be no question that rBGH, a steroid for dairy cows, is a significant if not primary cause of chronic silent inflammation, food allergies and delayed food intolerance. There are countless reasons why eating this food leads to weight gain, obesity, illness and disease.
We suggest that you switch your family to organic dairy products, which taste far superior, and protect your children from the unwanted consequences of eating dairy products from factory farmed cows.