As the rancorous debate over acceptance of rBST treatments has spread across the country, more and more dairy marketers have jumped on the rBST-free bandwagon. The concern of dairyman has always been the clear lack of understanding from the average consumer as to what exactly rBST is, what it does, and what it means for them as consumers of dairy products. One state has now decided that the debate is over for them: Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Dennis Wolf announced this week that starting January 1st, marketers are prohibited from selling milk under the “rBST Free” label.
Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Dennis Wolff announced the decision last month after convening a 22-member Food Labeling Advisory Committee to look into false or misleading claims in “absence labeling.”
The ruling covers all dairy products sold in the state, forcing some out-of-state manufacturers, in effect, to make Pennsylvania-only packaging. So far, the state Department of Agriculture has notified 19 companies that their labels must change.
Wolf’s concerns included the inability of regulators to test and prove the product was in fact rBST-free, as well as the “unjustified” higher prices demanded by anti rBST marketers. It has been rumored that other states including Ohio and New Jersey are considering following suit.