PENNSYLVANIA FORBIDS LABELING OF MILK PRODUCED WITHOUT ARTIFICIAL HORMONES

November 28, 2007

Consumers who want to choose milk produced without the use of artificial hormones are out of luck - if they live in Pennsylvania. That is not a choice the state will allow them.

The dairy industry has fought such labelling in many states ever since recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) - a genetically engineered hormone given to cows to boost their milk output - went into use in 1994.

The dairy industry - which has Pennsylvania's Agriculture Department on its side - contends that hormone-grown milk actually has no detectable residue of hormones in the milk itself, and that advertising such milk as "hormone-free" is misleading. Food safety and consumer health advocates argue that the milk may have other contaminants, and that people have a right to know how their food is grown.