The term “GE Milk” is a decided thorn in the side of milk producers. So is lumping it in with “Frankenfoods”.
Milk has long been hyped as being a very essential and nourishing food, but many are now realizing this is not true. In fact, milk is proving to do more harm to the body than good.
In 1993, the FDA approved a controversial drug manufactured by Monsanto called rBST (recombinant bovine somatotropin or, sometimes with the word ‘growth’ added to it to become rBGH. Usually, it is simply called BST).
BST was designed to increase milk production in cows significantly – something that was totally unnecessary since there was already a glut of milk on the market. The increase in production also increased the cases of mastitis, which left pus in the milk which, in turn, made it necessary to give the cows antibiotics routinely.
Although the biotech industry emphatically states that BST is a ‘natural’ hormone already found in cows, they overlook the fact that anything scientists make in a laboratory simply cannot be exactly the same as what is found in nature.
To make the synthetic hormone, engineers took the cow gene that creates their growth hormone, altered it, and inserted it into E. coli bacteria, thus creating a living factory.
The resulting hormone is similar, but certainly not identical to the naturally occurring variety. When injected into a cow, it boosts the whole metabolism, including the mammary cell activity, thereby causing an increase in milk production.
Most critics of the hormone are far less concerned with it than they are with another hormone, insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), which resembles insulin and hence its name. The human IGF-1 is chemically identical to that found in cows and generally acts the same way in both species.
In humans, IGF-1 naturally causes cells to divide and is one of the body’s most powerful growth hormones. Using BST stimulates the production of IFG-1 levels in cows’ milk by at least 80%.
In humans, it also raises IFG-1 levels, thereby substantially increasing the risk of breast cancer, as well as prostate and colon cancer. But, Monsanto decided that it was not necessary for the public to know this little tidbit.
The public was also led to believe that pasturization destroys the hormones. Not only are the hormones not destroyed in the human digestive system, they are absorbed intact.
A report conducted by the Canadian Veterinary Medicine Association verified that BST does make cows more susceptible to infections, diseases, and infertility.
European scientists have found the same thing. They are also finding that GE milk could contain 70% more of the hormone than regular milk – contrary to statements issued by Monsanto. GE milk is mixed with other milk and sold to the public unlabeled as such.
Canada’s milk scandal erupted when six scientists testified before a Canadian Senate committee revealing the enormous pressure they were subjected to in 1998 so that the rBGH growth hormone would be approved as being safe.
Employed by Health Canada, the six found the product to be unsafe; but senior Canadian officials and the product’s maker, Monsanto, tried to force them to approve it anyway. Dumbfounded, the senate committee listened to just how much pressure they came under:
- They were offered between one and two million dollars.
- Notes and files were stolen.
- They were removed from the case when they refused to approve the drug.
- Managers without scientific experience regularly overruled their decisions and threatened to “ship them to other departments where they would never be heard from again”.
- They saw the policy of serving the client was shifted from the public to the industry.
- All files relating to rbGH were controlled by one senior bureaucrat and could be reviewed only by special permission – no other files had this restriction.
- One scientist was suspended for five days without pay after testifying before the commission.
What happened in Canada is typical of what has happened to scientists around the world, including US scientists when the FDA was evaluating BST (the FDA still treats GE foods entirely different from drugs).
Although Canada did not approve the use of the hormone, more than 30% of US dairy farmers still use Posilac, the largest selling dairy animal health product in the US. It is also sold to other countries around the world.
A common tactic used by industries is to bury the FDA in a mountain of paperwork. Monsanto was no exception when they submitted a stack of papers on BST that was 67 feet high!
This led the FDA to conclude erroneously that Monsanto must have done their testing. Making matters worse, the FDA tried to cover their own ignorance by suppressing and manipulating data.
On the other hand, to be fair, not all the data made it into the FDA’s hands. For example, cows that developed infections were dropped from Monsanto’s BST study, thereby distorting conclusions.
Through the Freedom of Information Act, it was revealed that 9,500 cows from 500 farms were infected; but Monsanto said they only saw a handful of cows develop udder infections. In addition, what tests were done were taken from just one milking period and not over a period of time.
Controversy over this matter erupted again in the US because of a husband and wife team of highly acclaimed investigative reporters, Steve Wilson and Jane Akre. The two had produced an informational series which was picked up by the Fox Network, who was so enthused about the series titled Mystery in Your Milk that they considered radio time to advertise it.
Monsanto got wind of it and promptly had their lawyers send threatening letters to the Network. Trying to salvage their work and appease the network as well as Monsanto, the journalists spent the next seven months rewriting the series no less than 83 times.
This herculean effort still did not meet approval. In the end, they were offerred nearly $200,000 to go away quietly and say nothing about the TV station’s (WTVT in Tampa) handling of the story.
When they refused, their contract was not renewed. Shortly thereafter, Science magazine and Lancet published studies that confirmed what the journalists had found. (The main page for Wilson and Akre is here.)
The following are some useful links as to why milk, in general, and GE milk, in particular, is not the wonder food long touted by the dairy industry.
Milk in General:
- The NotMilk site
- The No Milk page that links to many other sites on the topic
- Milk and the Cancer Connection