[note that Sweets is guest-authoring this entry]
Late last month, the state Department of Agriculture told 19 dairies that they cannot use language such as “Our farmers’ pledge: no artificial growth hormones,” or “From cows not treated with the growth hormone rBST,” starting January 1, 2008.
Ohio, New Jersey and Indiana are reportedly mulling similar restrictions.
The clash is described in terms of offering dairy consumers the information they want to help them choose their products, and producers, in the marketplace.
Surveys clearly show consumers desire more transparency — not less — on milk labels. Lake Research Partners found 80 percent of consumers supported the labeling of rBGH-free milk products. The Natural Marketing Institute found that 53 percent of shoppers look for dairy products free of artificial hormones. And Opinion Research found 81 percent of respondents would prefer to buy dairy products derived from cows that do not receive synthetic hormones, assuming little or no pricing difference.
There is some interesting parsing of Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff’s argument for this change over at Chews Wise, so I encourage you to read and possibly comment over there on the issue if this is of interest to you. As a hint, there is a difference between claiming the milk is healthy and pledging the practices of the farmers are sustainable.