Friday, January 18, 2008

Good news from Pennsylvania!

Here's good news from Rick North, of Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility. Last month, as part of the "Allied Actions" of our e-mail newsletter, we asked you to call Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell to protest new labeling regulations that would have effectively banned dairies from letting buyers know that their milk came from cows that were bovine growth hormone free.

The new labeling regulation was touted as a way of keeping the shoppers from being "confused" about the milk they buy. But the real power behind the proposal was Monsanto, the sole commercial producer of rBGH and rBST. Monsanto is well aware that consumers are too cautious to truly believe what they've been told about the safety of rBGH and rBST. To save diminishing corporate profits, Monsanto and its supporters went after our "right to know."

Well, thanks to a flood of calls, emails, and letters, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has decided to let dairies label their milk as hormone free--with a small caveat. Read below:

Below is the memo I sent to my list yesterday afternoon. All of you were part of this great victory by being on the sign-on letter and/or notifying your constituencies and asking them to take action. I can’t tell you how much we appreciate your efforts. It’s amazing what we can accomplish when we work together. Pennsylvania, and the whole country, is a better place today because of our work. Again, our sincere appreciation.

Rick North

We Did It!

YES! This morning the Pennsylvania Dept. of Agriculture released new rules that essentially have taken back their ban on any kind of rBGH-free labels!

Dairy processors are again free to use such labels at "rBGH- (rBST)- Free," "Our farmers pledge not to use synthetic growth hormones," and "From clows not treated with rBGH (rBST)." In other words, the consumer's right to know what's in their dairy products has been rescued.

The only major concession given was that processors are now required to include the FDA disclaimer that there is "no significant difference" between rBGH and rBGH-free milk. Obviously, we totally disagree with this opinion, but the reality is that most dairy processors have included this on their labels anyway, mainly to keep Monsanto off their backs. The most important reality is that consumers who want rBGH-free dairy products don't believe it anyway!

Make no mistake--a major reason for this victory is the grass roots bombardment of the PA governor's office and Dept. of Agriculture with thousands of messages of protest, plus the sign-on letter of over 60 organizations protesting the ban, and, of course, the threat of a lawsuit.

For all of you that helped, our sincere appreciation for your support. This is just another example of how much power and influence we have when we work with each other and with other organizations. Organized people have just beaten organized money. This was a BIG ONE!

Thank you!


There's nothing like good news. But Monsanto may still be trying to influence labeling regulations in other states, including New Jersey, Ohio, and Washington. Doubtless, there's more agitating ahead. Also note that the FDA recently approved food from cloned animals. Will these products be accurately labeled? Will producers be allowed to put a "not from clones!" label on their products?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Next fight--labeling clones.