Thursday, February 7, 2008

Should It Be A Secret When Cows are Hormone-Free?

I saw this article on MSN.com this morning regarding hormone-free cows:

Ben & Jerry's in food-safety fight


Evidently, Montesanto doesn't want you to know whether the cows that make the milk you drink (or in this case, eat in ice cream) are pumped up with recombinant bovine growth hormone, or rBGH. They say that rBGH is perfectly safe, and cows that use this hormone make milk that is just as safe as cows that do not.

Shouldn't the consumer be the one to decide? If we think that it is safe, then we'll buy the milk. If we don't we won't. I remember when Nutrasweet came out, and they used to put out these commercials that Nutrasweet was so great because it came from nature, or something like that. More than 20 years later, many people have serious doubts about its safety (do a google search on Nutrasweet, or even look it up on YouTube). I personally have discovered that it makes my memory go, and I avoid it when at all possible. Since I discovered the connection between Nutrasweet and my memory a few years ago, I've had about 2 sodas that had Nutrasweet in them, and I love soda.

There are a lot of people out there that will pay a premium for organic. They'll pay extra for organic carrots, hormone-free meat, and I've even talked to some people who buy a share in a cow so they can have non-pasteurized milk. I can't afford too much of that myself, but I think that people should have the right to choose what they will and will not eat, and part of that choice includes whether I want pesticides sprayed on my food, AND whether I want to drink milk that comes from a cow that took hormones.

A representative from Montesanto said "We need to stand up for our technology or we're going to lose it." It's not a matter of technology and whether you would lose it or not. It's a matter of whether rBGH is something that the consumer wants or not. Just because the technology exists doesn't mean that you should use it. We have the technology to make atomic bombs, but that doesn't mean we want to use them. We have the technology to clone human embryos, but that doesn't mean that we should do it. It's a little like comparing apples to oranges, but a technology should be used (or not used) based on it's own merits. And people should decide whether they want to go along with it or not.

I don't know whether I'd avoid these cow's milk or not. I can't really afford milk as it is, which is why we get WIC. But if I had the choice between hormone milk and not hormone milk, I'll choose not hormone milk every time. Which is what Montesanto fears... BUT we should have the choice anyway. And there will be people that can't afford the non-hormone milk if it's more expensive anyway.

Maybe Montesanto should stick to making stain repellent for carpets.

For now, I'm glad to know that Ben & Jerry's make ice cream from the non-hormone cows. Makes me more likely to choose their ice cream.

1 comment:

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