New Choices Mean Controversy For Milk

US - A generation ago, running to the store for a gallon of milk was a no-brainer. You simply picked up a bottle of milk and went on your merry way.
calendar icon 12 March 2008
clock icon 1 minute read
These days, consumers have a dizzying array of choices — lactose-free or skim-rich, unflavored or flavored, organic or conventional, soy milk or hormone-free milk.

That last one, labeled with claims that might read "rBST-free" or "no growth hormones," has recently aroused a new wave of controversy as Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey, Indiana and several other states are trying to ban or restrict these so-called absence labels from milk cartons altogether.

While New York has no such legislation in the works, the Department of Agriculture & Markets' Division of Milk Control and Dairy Services is closely following what is happening elsewhere and is "actively working" on more specific labeling guidelines for all dairy products, says agriculture department spokeswoman Jessica Chittenden.

Many proponents of rBST say current labeling practices can mislead consumers into believing that milk made with the synthetic hormone, which typically costs less, is inferior. Farmers who prefer rBST complain that they aren't getting a fair price for their milk compared with rBST-free and organic, or complain they are being forced to quit using it, and with it, the profits from higher production.

Source: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
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