Calling for Dairy and Beef Hormone Ban
It is a major announcement for consumers who prefer foods unadulterated with hormones.
Public health and consumer groups are applauding the decision by the 50,000 member American Public Health Association (APHA) to call for a ban on the use of recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) in dairy cows, and a slate of growth hormones used in beef cattle.
The major announcement was made Tuesday by APHA, the oldest and largest association of public health professionals in the world.
APHA joins the American Nurses Association, which last year announced its opposition to the dairy hormone injected into some of the nation’s dairy cows, rBGH.
And the past president of the American Medical Association (AMA) last year asked all AMA members to serve only rBGH-free milk in hospitals.
Hormone Use In Cows, Cattle
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has estimated that over 42 percent of large dairy operations in the United States inject at least some of their dairy cows with rBGH, a synthetic hormone that induces cows to produce more milk.
Among beef cattle, six steroid hormones are in widespread use in U.S. and Canadian animals to speed weight gain.
The use of rBGH has well-known negative impacts on the health of dairy cows and for humans may increase the risk of certain types of cancer. The European Union along with Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan do not allow the dairy hormone to be used.
Hormones used in beef put consumers at risk for prolonged exposure, say consumer groups, while the U.S. government says it’s safe for producers to use growth hormones, relying on outdated research, say safe food advocates.
“Americans are now awash in environmental hormones, while the science reveals that hormone related diseases are on the rise,” said David Wallinga, M.D., physician/director of Food and Health at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.
As part of its resolution, APHA asks the Food and Drug Administration to ban the use of rBGH and growth promoting beef hormones, and recommends that hospitals, schools and other institutions – especially those serving children – serve food produced without these hormones.
The resolution also supports product labeling for consumers to make informed purchasing decisions.
"For too long, regulators have looked the other way while industrial beef and dairy operations use hormones recklessly,” said Food & Water Watch Executive Director, Wenonah Hauter.
"In the marketplace, consumers are demanding meat and dairy produced without these hormones,” said Martin Donohoe, MD of Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility. "But access to safe food should not depend on the whims of the market. It is the government's responsibility to ensure that all consumers are protected. #