Friday, December 2, 2011

What is rBST and Should You Care if You Drink It?

I was drinking chocolate milk the other day after a workout and turned to look at the label.  As you can see from the picture, it states rBST free.   Not shown, the other side states, "No difference has been found between milk that is rBST free.

So obviously they think it's a big deal to not have it in there and equally obvious, there is a law that states you have to put the disclaimer on the bottle as well.

So that got me thinking, what is rBST?   

From an organic website,  "Recombinant bovine growth hormone (also known as rBGH or rBST) is a genetically engineered drug produced by the Monsanto Corporation. It is injected into dairy cows to induce them to increase milk production, typically by 5-15%. It's estimated that 15-20% of the cows in the United States are injected with this hormone. It was approved by the FDA in 1993."

The reading from this website suggest that the use of rBST increases the IGF-1 hormone in the milk.  We then ingest it.  This brings about increases in cancer risk.  

rBST also requires the use of more antibiotics.  The antibiotics make their way into our soil and water and increases human resistance to antibiotics.  Not cool by any means.

It's actually hard on the cow.  This is the more humane aspect.  The cow has more health problems.  They range from birth problems, hoove disorders and gastrointestinal disorders to name a few, but they list up to 15.  

The original reason for using rBST was to increase milk production.  This right there raises a red flag to me.  Messing with Mother Nature never seems like a healthy idea.  Are cows really designed to produce that much?  They actually list a study that was done to show that it isn't more profitable for the farm to us rBST.  

This is a website where you will find the benefits of the use of rBST.  They state the use of the drug enables one cow can give milk to 145 kids, as opposed to the cow producing enough milk for only 125 kids without it.  

They list when things were approved, but not much else.  Monsanto Corporation is either viewed as evil incarnate or a great savior.  If you want to hear more on that, I suggest the documentary Food INC.  I think like all things, moderation is needed.  The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.  

I don't think you're going to increase your risk of cancer from drinking milk.  But I would rather have less "stuff" added to anything I drink or eat.  Less is always more.  I think the antibiotic resistance is a real thing.  The ethical treatment of the cow will be a major issue for some people. The humane society of the US and Animal protection are against the the use of rBST.  

I'm lucky in the fact that I get raw milk from a local farm.  The stuff is amazing.  Doesn't even taste like the stuff you buy in grocery stores.  Hopefully this gives you an idea of what it is and what people are saying about it.  

The two websites are completely different.  Read between the lines on both.  Make up your mind and vote with your dollar.  

No comments: