Consumers force Monsanto to drop genetically engineered hormone for milk



    VANCOUVER, Aug. 8 /CNW Telbec/ - Global pressure has forced Monsanto to
announce that it is getting out of producing the bovine growth hormone rBST, a
genetically engineered (GE) product to increase milk production in dairy cows.
    Monsanto's decision to get out of the rBST business in the US comes after
global consumer and market rejection of rBST. Safeway, Starbucks and Kraft
recently announced they are removing milk produced using rBST from their
stores or products in the US. Milk and cheese made with rBST have been banned
in Canada and Europe for the past decade. This Monsanto decision will reduce
imports of processed foods with rBST modified milk ingredients, including ice
cream and infant formula, that Canadians now consume.
    "This is a big victory for American and Canadian consumers," said Josh
Brandon, agriculture campaigner with Greenpeace. "The massive and sustained
rejection of rBST milk highlights even further the need for Canada to require
labelling of all genetically engineered foods."
    This is a second rBST setback for Monsanto this year. The company failed
in its attempt to stem consumer rejection, losing bids in several US states to
prevent dairies from labelling their products as rBST free.
    In Canada, rBST was banned in 1998 after scientists at Health Canada
publicly raised health and safety concerns about the product. Some of the
health concerns of rBST include: toxic effects on cows such as mastitis,
increased contamination in milk by pus and antibiotics, and increased levels
of a cancer-causing agent IGF-1. The United States approved rBST in 1993.
    "If genetically engineered products like this were safe, Monsanto would
put 'made with GE' in big block letters on all its products," said Brandon.
"Instead Monsanto is doing everything it can to obstruct the consumer's right
to know what they are eating. Monsanto's strategy backfires, once consumers
start asking questions about the health and environmental safety of GE
products."




For further information:

For further information: Brian Blomme, Media and Public Relations
Officer, (416) 930-9055; Josh Brandon, Agriculture Campaigner, (604) 721-7493


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