Got rBGH-free milk?
Well, you should! And even if you buy organic, it’s worth it to check, because rBGH is no good for you, or for the cows giving you that milk!
So, sustainable eating tip No. 12 is…
Find rBGH-free milk
Here’s the deal: rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone) is a synthetic hormone given to cows to increase their milk production. It does that by stimulating increased levels of another hormone called insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1).
IGF-1 is a naturally occurring hormone in cows and people that normally stimulates some kinds of cells to grow, and several scientific studies have found a link between high levels of IGF-1 and certain kinds of cancers.
The science isn’t clear on whether or not milk from cows treated with rBGH increases IGF-1 in humans, but the science is clear that it’s no good for cows. Cows who are treated with rBGH suffer from udder infections or mastitis much more than cows who haven’t been treated with the hormone, and therefore, must be given higher doses of antibiotics to keep them healthy. Again, while the science isn’t clear on the effects of these antibiotics on humans drinking the milk, it is clear that increased use of antibiotics leads to more antibiotic-resistant bacteria—which is bad news for everybody.
My take on all this? It’s clearly bad for the cows, it might be bad for us—best to avoid it if we can.
And that’s the good news! More and more manufacturers are switching to rBGH-free milk for drinking milk and lots of other dairy products.
Check your labels for it to say “rBGH-free” or go to SustainableTable.org where you can click on the map and get a list of rBGH-free dairy products sold in your state.
original image by striatic