Finally, among all of the BST news out there, we hear from Monsanto themselves. This week, the company released a study of 213 samples of 95 milk brands, taken from retailers in the 48 contiguous states. You may not be surprised by the results.
Third-party laboratories, funded by Monsanto, tested for certain hormones, nutrients and antibiotics. Their bottom line: Milk is milk, regardless of whether Posilac is used in its production.
The study included samples of milk labeled as being free of rBST, or recombinant bovine somatotropin, the scientific name for Posilac; organic milk, which carries a similar claim; and ordinary milk bearing no such label. It found:
• No difference in the levels of the hormones progesterone, insulin-like growth factor 1, or BST. Critics of Posilac have said it elevates these levels and can cause human health concerns as a result.
• No difference in nutrients such as protein, fat and lactose.
• No antibiotic residue, which is prohibited by the Food and Drug Administration. Posilac critics say its use leads to health problems in dairy cattle, which then must be treated with antibiotics that can end up in milk.
It intends to counter “rBST-free” labeling moves by major retailers including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., processors such as Dean Foods Co. and, most recently, restaurant chain Starbucks Coffee Co. Some financial analysts estimate Posilac is worth about $250 million a year to Monsanto, which in its last fiscal year had total sales of $7.3 billion.