Growth Hormone Free Milk Labels Adopted by Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania has reached a compromise on labelling milk free from the artificial growth hormone rBST, which may enable processors to up the price.
calendar icon 21 January 2008
clock icon 2 minute read

Governor Edward G. Rendell announced last week that milk labels informing consumers that it was produced without rBST or artificial growth hormones can continue to be used. The Governor pointed out that Pennsylvania’s new standards for milk labels will enhance consumer confidence.

The move will standardize labeling about artificial growth hormones given to dairy cows to bring labels in line with other states, like Vermont, and follow the 1994 Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) milk labeling guidelines.

“The public has a right to complete information about how the milk they buy is produced,” said Governor Rendell. “Consumers can have confidence that the claims made by labels are accurate, and for the first time used in a uniform manner.”

As a result of the new standards, dairy processors intending to use labels stating no rBST or artificial growth hormones will be required to certify that the milk they are marketing was not produced with rBST. If these companies wish to have that reflected on their labels they are required to vouch for their production methods so the Department of Agriculture can verify those claims.

“We recognized the importance of consumers having this information and we want to ensure consumer that all labels are accurate. I’ve directed the Department of Agriculture to increase the accountability of processors,” said Governor Rendell. “And protect consumers by taking legal action against labels found to be inaccurate.

“Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s charge is to ensure that food on the shelves is safe, and in the case of milk, labeled truthfully,” said Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff. “These new standards give consumers the information they want about how their milk was produced.”

The new standards apply to labeling about recombinant bovine somatotropin, or rBST, an artificial growth hormone. Only milk produced entirely without the use of artificial hormones can make that claim.

“If consumers prefer certain farming practices, such as not using rBST, there needs to be accountability on the part of the milk processor to show that the consumer is getting what they are paying for,” said Wolff.

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