Topeka A bill placing new label restrictions on dairy products that tout being free of growth hormones was approved Thursday by the Senate over the opposition of state Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence.
Under the measure, producers who state their product is not from cows supplemented with rBST, which is recombinant bovine somatotropin, would have to document the claim and put on the product label a disclaimer that the federal government has determined that rBST makes no difference.
Large dairy producers say it is misleading to brag about being hormone-free because there is no evidence linking the hormones given to cows with any problems in milk or other dairy products. “I believe it levels the playing field for all dairy producers,” said state Sen. Mark Taddiken, R-Clifton.
But opponents say some people want to know whether hormones are used because they believe it could either adversely affect the quality of the milk or the health of the cow.
And Francisco said she feared that some companies may keep their products out of Kansas rather than comply with the expense of changing labels. She said she had received correspondence from Ben & Jerry’s ice cream company that indicated it would cost more than $200,000 to change its labels for the proposed Kansas law.
The Senate approved the measure, 22-15. It now goes to the House where it is expected to pass.