The Cancer Prevention Coalition is criticizing a widely publicized recent report, “Recombinant Bovine Somatotropin” (rBST) which claims that milk from cows injected with this genetically engineered hormone is safe.

The report was authored by eight paid consultants to rBST companies, including Elanco and Monsanto, points out Dr. Samuel S. Epstein, Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition. “All of these consultants were paid for their so-called ‘safety assessments,'” he says.

The hormone rBST is injected in about 20% of U.S. dairy cows to increase milk production. While the industry claims that the hormone is safe for cows, and that the milk is safe for consumers, this is “blatantly false,” says Dr Epstein, who authored the 2006 book, “What’s In Your Milk?” (Trafford Publishing).

Dr. Epstein warns:

    * rBST makes cows sick. Monsanto has been forced to admit to about 20 toxic effects, including mastitis, on the label of Posilac, the rBST product that when administered to cows makes them produce more milk. Monsanto’s Posilac product was acquired by Eli Lilly in 2008.

    * rBST milk is contaminated by pus, due to mastitis, an infection of the udder commonly induced by the hormone, and also by antibiotics used to treat the mastitis.

    * rBST milk is chemically and nutritionally different than natural milk.

    * Milk from cows injected with rBST is contaminated with the hormone, traces of which are absorbed through the gut into the blood of people who consume this milk or products made from it.

    * rBST milk is supercharged with high levels of the natural growth factor (IGF-1), which is readily absorbed through the gut.

    * Excess levels of IGF-1 have been incriminated in well-documented scientific publications as causes of breast, colon, and prostate cancers. Additionally, IGF-1 blocks natural defense mechanisms against early submicroscopic cancers.

Cancer Prevention Coalition warnings of these risks in 1990 were endorsed by the National Family Farm Coalition, representing 30 organizations, and also by the Campaign Against rBST, representing 10 organizations.

A 2007 Cancer Prevention Coalition petition to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), “Seeking Withdrawal of the New Animal Drug application for rBST,” was endorsed by the Organic Consumers Association, Farm Defenders, and the Institute for Responsible Technology.

Nevertheless, the FDA has remained indifferent to these risks, in spite of longstanding Congressional concerns.

Illustrative is the 1986 Congressional report, “Human Food Safety and Regulation of Animal Drugs,” by the House Committee on Government Operations. This report concluded that the “FDA has consistently disregarded its responsibility… has repeatedly put what it perceives are interests of veterinarians and the livestock industry ahead of its legal obligations to protect consumers – jeopardizing the health and safety of consumers of meat and milk.”

Of particular concern are risks to infants and children in view of their high susceptibility to cancer-causing ingredients in consumer products, warns Dr. Epstein.

Dr. Epstein says these risks are readily avoidable by consuming organic milk. According to The Hartman Group, a prominent Seattle consulting firm, organic milk is now among the first organic product that consumers buy. Organic milk is also becoming increasingly available, with an annual growth rate of about 20%, while overall milk consumption is dropping by 10%.

“Nevertheless,” Dr. Epstein emphasizes, “only a few schools make organic milk available, nor do most state governments, under low-income food programs, particularly by the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.”

Wal-Mart is now the biggest seller of certified organic milk, followed by Horizon Organic, owned by Dean Foods, the nation’s largest dairy producer, and by Groupe Danone, the leading French dairy company.

While growth in this market is still held back by the higher price of organic milk, this problem is likely to be resolved by Wal-Mart’s competitive pricing.

In sharp contrast to the United States, the European Union nations as well as Norway, Switzerland, New Zealand, Japan, and Canada all have banned the use and imports of hormonal milk and dairy products.

This news release has been sent to state governors and senior officials in all 50 state health departments as well as to senior federal officials in all relevant agencies, and also staff members of relevant Congressional committees.

It is anticipated that Dr. Margaret Hamburg, the highly respected new Commissioner of the FDA, will take prompt action to protect the unsuspecting public from the dangers of rBST milk.

Samuel S. Epstein, M.D.
Chairman, Cancer Prevention Coalition
Professor emeritus Environmental & Occupational Medicine
University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health
Chicago, Illinois
Tel: 312-996-2297 Email: