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December 1, 2010

"rBST Free" Horomones in Milk, What's the Difference?

We as consumers are bombarded on a daily basis regarding the safety of the food we consume.  Is coffee bad for you?  Is chocolate bad for you?  Beef; grass fed, natural or feed lot finished, does it make a difference in how healthy the product is?  And then there's MILK.  This wonderfully wholesome product get's the worst of the backlash {in my opinion}.  There are many avenues I could touch on relating to misconceptions of milk to share with you, but today, it's hormones - bST and rbST- which is the synthetic type.

Yes, milk does contain hormones, bST- Bovine Somatotropin, which is a natural hormone milk also contains other hormones, one of which is estrogen. Look what else contains estrogen and how much.  {I didn't realize veggies contain that many more nanograms of estrogen than milk}

A 3 oz. serving of milk contains 11 nanograms of estrogen {both non-rBST and rBST milk}.
Raw peas have 454 nanograms of estrogen.
Raw cabbage has 2,700 nanograms of estrogen.
A 4 oz. serving of implanted beef has 1.6 nanograms of estrogen.
{nanograms are a small measurement} {1}


The estrogen tables above are from The Science of Agriculture - A Safe Food Supply

Here are some common questions regarding bST {below information was borrowed from Cornell University}:

What are protein Hormones?

All protein hormones, including ST, are made from naturally occurring amino acids that are derived from the digestion of dietary protein. BST contains 191 amino acids and shares a high degree of amino acid sequence similarity in the range of 90% with somatotropins from other farm animals. Although the amino acid sequence is quite similar among farm animals, there are unique differences when comparisons are made with human ST. For example, the amino acid sequence of hST differs by approximately 35% from that of bST. Because of this, bST is not active in humans even if it is injected into the bloodstream. This is an important attribute assuring its safety for the consumer.

Consumers form perceptions about a food’s safety based either on what they hear from scientists or alternatively from activists whose ideas are not supported by valid scientific findings. From a scientific viewpoint, bST is efficacious and safe. {Cornell University} {2}

Are there increased levels of bST in milk from cows supplemented with bST?
No. BST is normally found in cows' milk, and many studies have shown that bST supplementation does not affect the concentration of bST in milk.

Can bST be absorbed into the bloodstream of humans?
No. All proteins in the diet (including bST) are digested into individual amino acids and peptide fragments in the stomach and small intestine. The digestion process destroys the hormonal activity of all dietary proteins. Numerous studies reviewed in this report support the conclusion that bST is not orally active.

Is milk from bST‑supplemented {rbST} cows safe for children and adults?
Yes. As a part of the approval process, FDA has concluded, based on convincing evidence, that milk from bST‑supplemented cows is safe for humans and is similar compositionally and nutritionally to ordinary milk.

Does consuming milk from bST‑supplemented cows increase the risk of developing allergies?
No. Milk from bST‑supplemented cows is the same as milk from non‑supplemented cows. Individuals who were not allergic to milk products prior to the use of bST will not be allergic to milk from bST‑supplemented cows.

As consumers, we want to know and have the right to know what we are buying but when I see labels on milk saying "rBST free" I think it should also state that scientifically, there is no significant difference between non-rBST and rBST milk.....give us the information in it's entirety.  I think when products are labeled "rbST Free", it gives the impression that products not labeled this way are inferior and in turn, can make the consumer feel guilty about purchasing a perfectly safe, wholesome and great tasting product. 

If you've been a frequent reader here, you then know that we do not supplement our cows with rBST, as we don't see the need for it. 

To read the entire report on facts of rbST, I've provided the links below:

{2} Cornell University report reagarding facts of rbST.
{1} Dr. Gary Neubauer, veterinarian with Pfizer Animal Health.

How do you feel when you see these types of labels on products?  Do you feel they're misleading? 

Happy Wednesday!

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