In the face of a health-conscious collective, ice cream giant Breyers has decided to stop using milk from cows treated with the controversial, artificial growth hormone rBST. This news makes it even more apparent that a food awakening is happening as consumers demand additive-free food.
In addition to sourcing non-rBST milk, Unilever-owned Breyers will only purchase vanilla that is certified by the Rainforest Alliance, ensuring it meets the standards of the Sustainable Agriculture Network and the Forest Stewardship Council.
While cows naturally produce bovine somatotropin (BST) in the pituitary glands, this artificial hormone used in much of the nations milk is created by biotech companies like Monsanto. It is created using a genetically engineered E. coli bacteria, which has been banned in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Israel, and the European Union.
“Breyers has a long-standing history of offering frozen treats with high-quality ingredients that moms feel good about,” said Alessandra Bellini, vice president of brand development at Unilever North America. “These industry-leading changes are the latest in our commitment to do right by parents and the environment.”
Surprisingly, unlike other health shifts, this move will come in the near future – by March of 2015.
Also owned by Unilever, the other popular ice cream maker known as Ben & Jerry’s has already been rBST-free for many years, and has even more recently committed to going GMO-free.
Breyers’ parent company Unilever plans to have other brands, including Fruttare, Good Humor, Klondike, Magnum and Popsicle, follow suit in the next few years in an attempt to be the go-to source for hormone-free milk.
A Little About Monsanto’s rBGH
Much of our nation’s milk has come from cows injected with a genetically engineered growth hormone for the past 20 years, though it was never labeled, so most of us had no idea. The first genetically engineered product brought to market, RBGH, has dominated the milk market just about since the FDA approved it in 1993.
The hormone is injected into cows every two weeks to boost their hormonal activity, causing them to produce an additional 10 to 15% more milk, or about one extra gallon each day. Within 4 years of its introduction, about one-third of the nation’s cows were in herds being treated with this growth hormone.
Unilever, owner of Ben & Jerry’s, donated $467,000 to help defeat Prop 37 in California, but sat out the battle over I-522 in Washington. Unilever is still a member of the Grocery’s Manufacturer Association, though. The company also recently picked a legal fight with a small vegan company because they were competing too vigorously with Unilever’s Hellmann’s mayonnaise. Imagine that – consumers purchasing foods that don’t cause health issues!