Saturday, January 31, 2009

MMM-Misleading Milk Marketing

It is time for an educational post-and while I write this something crazy with the animals is probably happening that is worthy of a later post- and I have decided to go milk. Yes, again. What prompted this is my browsing through a Publix circular in the newspaper. On their GreenWise page (which highlights their own brand of natural/organic products) there is a big glass of creamy milk with 2 cookies. Below the picture is the advertised price of $4.99/gallon (so much for tough economic times) and the following ad campaign: "Whether poured on cereal or in a glass, try our Publix GreenWise Market All-Natural Milk. With no artificial or added hormones, you and your family will love the smooth, fresh taste of this wholesome, pure milk."

Allow me to disect this for you.

1. "no artificial or added hormones" Here they are referring to bovine growth hormone (BGH) and also recombinant bovine growth hormone(rbST). rbST was a proven effective and safe hormone that was used sparingly by dairymen to increase milk production by almost 10%. This was used primarily for cows who were on the lower end of the production spectrum for short periods of time. Most dairies in Florida and southern parts of Georgia and Alabama were using this hormone very infrequently before Southeast Milk Co-op ( decided to ban it's use from the dairies participating in the co-op. In other words, if you are living in Florida the milk you have been drinking over the last year is rBST-free regardless of if it is organic or not. BGH's main vice has been that it is reported that the presence of this hormone in milk may cause an increase in our system of Insulin Growth Factor(IGF-1) which is loosely linked to cancer.
-Dale Bauman, a professor of animal science at Cornell University, emphasizes that if IGF-1 is slightly higher in milk from BGH-treated cows, it represents a tiny fraction of the IGF we all produce each day. Bauman reports that we would have to drink 95 quarts of milk to equal the IGF-1 we make daily in our saliva and other digestive tract secretions. Interesing, huh?
-ST LOUIS, Jan. 25 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Monsanto (Nachrichten/Aktienkurs) announced today that new data from a national study of milk show that marketing claims implying that milk from cows not treated with POSILAC bovine somatotropin (bST) is safer or healthier are misleading. Scientific analysis of retail milk samples gathered from 48 states showed no difference in concentrations of bST, insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), progesterone or nutrients in conventionally produced milk and conventionally produced milk labeled as coming from cows not supplemented with POSILAC. No antibiotic residues were found in any samples.


Honestly, I am disappointed they did not mention the antibiotics claim to fame. Here is the truth on that in milk: Organic cows can be treated with antibiotics. They are then removed from the herd for 1 year. Yikes. Conventional cows can be treated with antibiotics. Typically, dairymen remove them from the herd while they are being treated, and until a week after they have finished their round of medication. They perform their own tests on that particular cow's milk to ensure there are no traces of the drugs before they return them to the herd. WHY? Because 2x a day, when the refrigerated truck comes to collect their money, er, milk, the milk is tested. If there is a trace of antibiotics in the milk, the entire holding tank is dumped. Talk about seeing your income go down the drain... So, there are no antibiotics in the milk you drink, organic or not.


And I just have to say that the feel good verbiage that is used on organic marketing is sickening. "your family will love the smooth fresh taste?" Give me a break. If my family didn't love the smooth fresh taste of our conventional milk, I don't think I would be buying it! And here is another one off of Annie's Homegrown Shells & White Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese (which was surprisingly in my pantry! ha! it was on clearance at Stuff-Mart, OK?) "...and to support family farms, use organic milk, butter, and yogurt!" I have a newsflash for you folks. The organic milk, butter, and yogurt that is available to most of us in our grocery stores is NOT FROM A FAMILY FARM. It is from a farm in which the farmers work for THE MAN. The man who owns the giant company. The man who is in charge of what the farmer gets paid for what he grows. I know these people who work for this man. They are all in different situations, yes, but a lot of the time, they are farming organically in order to be able to farm period. Nothing to do with convictions or research. Now if you have access to an organic producer down the road from you or a local farmers market or co-op, obviously you ARE supporting the farmer directly and by all means, support them. Think about this folks, think about what you are believing without really considering the facts. If you go to the GreenWise section of Publix and buy items from there believing you are helping out a quaint little Mom and Pop farm, this is very farm from the truth. (who caught that?)

Please also read this fascinating article:
reference used:

I have heard over and over again, people tell me "Oh, I don't buy organic food except for the milk... you know, because of the hormones." And I just want everyone to know.... you don't have to spend the extra money anymore!


Jeremy's fam said...

Thanks for the info! I never really buy organic stuff anyway... but now I don't feel so bad about it. :)

BenButler said...

You go girl! Well said

Julie said...

Interesting info, thanks for sharing. I have done research on organic products and buy organic milk (when it's cheaper/same price as conventiona). I am glad to find out info on the antibiotics and what actually happens.

It cracks me up when food companies label milk and eggs as "natural"....duh, what else would it be?