What is rBGH and Why Should You Care?

Genetically engineered Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone is a mouthful, and that’s just what you could be getting a mouthful of if you don’t have clear and concise labeling on your milk products.
Both the General Accounting Office and the Consumer’s Union have warned of potential hazards to human health caused by consuming products from rBGH-treated cows. BGH is banned in Europe and Canada. If you’d like more information on this hormone, you can find it here and for a more technical look at the issue, go here.
So why are we bringing it to your attention? As you know we run two Agribusiness and Food Specialty Centers and have become a part of a wide network of farmers across the Commonwealth who truly care about your health and knowledge of how to stay healthy. An entire movement dedicated to local food and growers, the Buy Fresh Buy Local initiative, also promotes putting a face on your food, knowing whom you buy it from, and taking advantage of local produce and commodities in season. For more on the Buy Fresh Buy Local effort, visit: http://www.buylocalpa.org/, then click on the region you are interested in on the map provided.
Recently we were made aware that the Kansas State legislature passed a bill restricting how much information consumers get about the milk they buy. The legislature in that state wants to restrict rBGH-FREE labeling. A bill in Kansas may not mean much to you right now, but could easily become a part of our own state’s agenda at some point down the line. Governor Kathleen Sebelius can still veto the bill. The Governor is President Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, the agency that houses the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA has national rules for rBGH-FREE labeling which have worked well in the past. It has been suggested by Food and Water Watch that the new bill would “water down existing national labeling by requiring a misleading disclaimer on all rBGH-free labels” and that the legislation would place “a financial burden on small dairy producers.” It would also “force national producers to have different labels for Kansas, than the rest of the country.”
Our job is to keep you informed, so we present this issue here for all of our PA Dairy farmers, who are already struggling with milk pricing issues. 95% of U.S. Dairy farmers have boycotted use of rBGH.
We will keep you posted on what transpires in this area in the future.
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About The University of Scranton SBDC

The University of Scranton SBDC provides no cost small business consulting services that are tailored to fit the needs of small business clients of Bradford, Lackawanna, Monroe, Pike, Susquehanna, Tioga, Wayne & Wyoming Counties. The center offers confidential individualized assistance designed to identify and address the problems of small business owners as well as individuals interested in establishing a business. The program is jointly funded by the US Small Business Administration, Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and The University of Scranton.
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