By Dan Shapley
A dairy proudly branding its milk as "hormone free" has riled one of the nation's big chemical companies. Publix Super Markets Inc. advertises its milk, yogurt and cheese as being is free of rBST, a synthetic hormone that boosts milk production in cows. Monsanto, the chemical giant that makes the hormone, has sued because it makes it seem as if the hormone is harmful, which the company says it is not. Recombinant bovine somotrophin -- also known as rBST, rGBH and bST -- can add $100 profit per cow to a farm that uses it, but some consumers, and farmers, shy away from the idea of "boosting production" on a living thing. Sales of organic milk -- up 25 percent last year -- demonstrate the consumer demand for foods perceived as sustainable or healthy, according to a story in the June 3 Palm Beach Post.