The ongoing battle between chemical giant Monsanto and dairy farmers continues, and this week the Ohio Department of Agriculture updated its ruling on milk labels and hormones.
Milk producers in Ohio can label their milk as having come from cows not treated with rBST, or recombinant bovine somatotropin, also known as rBGH which is a synthetic hormone given to cattle to increase milk production. However, they must also place a disclaimer on the container stating that the FDA has found no difference between treated and untreated milk.
The disclaimer must have the same font and be the same color as the label, but today's ruling established that the disclaimer must be only at least half as big as the label instead of the same size. The disclaimer must also be contiguous to the label.
While there are no conclusive studies showing that milk coming from cows treated with rBST is harmful to humans, rBST is banned in Japan, Canada, and Europe.
Advocates of the labels claim this is a free speech issue and that consumers have the right to know what is in their food. Critics of the labels - mainly Monsanto, who is the only marketer of rBST in the country - say that the labels wrongly imply that untreated milk is healthier. Monsanto has already brought the issue to court in Pennsylvania and Ohio, and it's expected other states will have to consider their milk labels soon.
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