Just two weeks after offering it for sale, Monsanto successfully sold its controversial artificial rBGH dairy hormone to Eli Lilly for $300 million, according to Bloomberg and other press accounts.
The sale comes as the Organic Trade Association and others have successfully pushed back, on behalf of consumers, against Agrochemical giant Monsanto's state-by-state anti-labeling campaign. Monsanto has spent the past year going state to state, trying to convince agricultural departments to ban "hormone-free" labels on milk.
It was a cynical attempt, in many people's eyes, to limit consumer information about artificial hormones, called rBST, used to unnaturally boost the milk output of cows. Use of the hormones is banned in Europe, in Canada, and in any milk labeled "organic" an increasingly popular product among consumers watching out for their health and the health of the environment. "rBST-free" has become a statement against industrial farming, even if the label doesn't always mean it. To consumers, it means cows weren't made to pump out milk at unnatural rates, which could mean they are less susceptible to disease, less in need of antibiotic treatments and all-in-all producing more healthy milk.
The artificial hormone, sold as Prosilac, was given to 22% of dairy cows in 2002, and 17% in 2007, a decline of 22%.
Eli Lilly is not helping its shareholders by buying a product that the marketplace is already abandoning, said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. Consumers dont want to drink milk produced with artificial hormones, retailers dont want to sell it and fewer and fewer dairy farmers are using it.
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