Breast-feeding mothers are often cautioned against eating and drinking certain things; it’s because some of these things can find their way into their breast milk and then their baby. Wouldn’t it make sense, then, that some of the hormones and antibiotics given to dairy cattle would make their way into your milk carton? One hormone, recombinant bovine somatotropin, or rBST, is given to about 20% of dairy cattle in the United States, having unknown effects on individuals who consume their milk.
Is rBST Safe?
IS rBST safe? That depends on who you ask. Companies like Monsanto, the original producer of Posilac (an rBST) product had to reluctantly put safety warnings on the sides of their packages—admitting that it has about 20 “toxic effects” on the cows.
It’s a hormone that forces cows to produce more milk. More milk = more money, but the hormone makes the cows sick. Among other things, it causes mastitis which is an infection of the udder. This infection causes pus to be released into the milk. Yes, pus is in your milk.
In turn, large scale dairy operations that use rBST must use more antibiotics in the cows to counter the infection causing effects of the hormones.
According to the Organic Consumers Association, Dr. Samuel S. Epstein of the Cancer Prevention Coalition warns:
- rBST milk is chemically and nutritionally different than natural milk.
- Milk from cows injected with rBST is contaminated with the hormone, traces of which are absorbed through the gut into the blood of people who consume this milk or products made from it.
- rBST milk is supercharged with high levels of the natural growth factor (IGF-1), which is readily absorbed through the gut.
- Excess levels of IGF-1 have been incriminated in well-documented scientific publications as causes of breast, colon, and prostate cancers. Additionally, IGF-1 blocks natural defense mechanisms against early submicroscopic cancers.
Interestingly, numerous large and wealthy countries have banned the use of hormones in milk including all countries of the European Union, Norway, Switzerland, Japan, Canada, and New Zealand. The United States, obviously has not.
What does this mean for you?
It simply gives you another reason to buy organic, hormone-free dairy products (if you must consume dairy). And if you think you can do without dairy—it’s just another reason to go vegan or simply avoid dairy.