Wednesday, August 15, 2018
 Growth Hormone rbST Safe and Green  

By Rory Harrington

Milk from cows given the growth hormone recombinant bovine somatropin (rbST) poses no human health threat and is identical to other milk, a review sponsored by hormone producer Elanco has said.

The US company, which bought out Monsanto’s rbST business last year, said an independent panel of experts came to its conclusions after conducting a comprehensive scientific review of the research on the hormone.

The team, lead by former USDA food safety undersecretary Richard Raymond, dismissed any link between drinking rbST-supplemented milk and health risks – including the onset of early puberty and some forms of cancer.

The paper, which was presented at the 2009 Joint Meeting of American Dairy Science Association (ADSA), Canadian Society of Animal Science (CSAS) and American Society of Animal Science (ASAS) in Montreal, Canada, also said there is no test that can differentiate between milk that has been produced with or without rbST.

"Upon extensive review of the scientific data, particularly the data on human health, the panel concludes with confidence that milk from rbST-supplemented cows, like all milk - organic, conventional or rbST-free - is a good and wholesome source of vital nutrients," said Dr. Raymond. "In addition, contrary to some claims, there is no scientific link between drinking milk from cows supplemented with rbST and any human health issues, including the decline in age of puberty and the risk of breast cancer."

History of rbST

In the 1930s, it was discovered that increasing levels of bovine somatotrophin (bST), a hormone produced naturally by lactating cows, led to greater milk volumes. The artificial version - rbST was developed by Monsanto in 1994 and the hormone has been the subject of controversy ever since. Its use is banned in Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, although bulk milk products from rbST-treated cows can still be used in food manufacture. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved rbST for use in 1993.

Green Claims

The hormone promotes sustainability and is an example of efficient production that will help meet the food needs of the burgeoning global population, said the group. It added that supplementation with rbST increases milk production by an average of around 15 per cent, which allows farmers to produce milk that is more affordable and in a “more environmentally responsible way”.

Source: Nutra Ingredients


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