Senator Duane Introduces Legislation That Would Issue Official State Quality Certification Trademarks For rBGH-Free Milk

Introduces Resolution Calling On Congress To Ban Synthetic rBGH In All Dairy Products

May 14, 2008

Senator Thomas K. Duane (D-WFP Manhattan) today introduced legislation which would require the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets to issue certification trademark quality seals for New York State milk and milk products that are free of the Monsanto Corporation's synthetic Recombiant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH). Monsanto produces the hormone under the brand name Prosilac™.

Under Senator Duane's legislation The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets would not provide a certification trademark quality seal for any milk or milk product that contains the synthetic rBGH hormone. In order to qualify for the certification trademark, dairy producers must allow the Department to draw blood from their milking herd, examine historical milk production records, inspect medicine storage places and perform other inspections reasonably necessary to verify synthetic rBGH-free compliance with the trademark criteria.

Currently the State of Maine requires this practice for all of their dairy products.

Senator Duane stated, "Many states, including New York, have introduced legislation which would require a simple labeling of synthetic rBGH-0free products. Yet this is no guarantee to consumers that the products they are using are rBGH-free and many times synthetic rBGH and rBGH-free products are commingled. Further, Monsanto is aggressively lobbying states to ban the use of labeling or to issue disclaimers on packages stating that the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) indicates 'there is no significant difference in milk from cows treated with artificial growth hormone.' It is clear that in New York, the only way to protect consumers from synthetic rBGH products is with an official Agriculture and Markets trademark seal."

"I applaud Sen. Duane for this needed legislation. It gives consumers an easy way to recognize when a wholesome product like milk has been adulterated with abnormal levels of rBGH," said Senator Darrel J. Aubertine (D-Cape Vincent). "This legislation gives a visible seal of approval to dairy products with natural growth hormone levels and gives consumers the choice they deserve."

In February, 2007 Monsanto wrote a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) complaining about rBGH labeling adversely effecting Monsanto's rBGH products and called for a special commission to investigate "deceptive advertising and labeling practices."

In addition to the legislation, Senator Duane introduced a Senate resolution calling on the United States Congress to mandate to the FDA to completely ban the use of synthetic rBGH hormones in the U.S. dairy industry.

The FDA approved synthetic rBGH in 1993, under strong opposition from scientists, farmers and consumers. The effects of rBGH have never been fully studied. The FDA relied solely on one study administered by Monsanto in which synthetic rBGH was tested for 90 days on 30 rats. The study was never published, and the FDA stated the results showed no significant problems.

Senator Duane said, "It is embarrassing and potentially dangerous that the FDA continues to allow the Monsanto Corporation to pressure sales of synthetic rBGH to U.S. dairy farmers. Most consumers have no idea that a growth hormone, intended to induce dairy cows to be more productive, is in much of their milk, cheese and yogurt. The European Union, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand have all banned the use of synthetic rBGH due to numerous animal and human health concerns. Yet Monsanto is using aggressive and deceptive lobbying practices to continue to sell synthetic rBGH in the United States. This is an outrage. I urge Congress to do the right thing and ban synthetic rBGH."

A European Union scientific commission showed that the use of synthetic rBGH increased health problems in cows and that synthetic rBGH should not be used. Monsanto's own studies indicate the use of synthetic rBGH in cows increases bovine insulin-like growth factor 1 in milk(IGF-1). Independent studies have found links between serum levels of IGF-1 and some medical conditions including breast, prostate and colorectal cancer, a higher risk of diabetes, a shorter lifespan in animal studies and has been linked to an increased number of twins born to humans. Synthetic rBGH milk contains higher levels of pus, bacteria and antibiotics.

Senator Duanefs legislation is currently pending in the Senate Agriculture Committee.

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