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Do you think dairy farmers should be able to label their milk as hormone-free?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on March 3, 2008

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Photo of Francisco Vasquez

“A consumer should be well-informed. They should label anything it contains.”

Photo of Linda Cottin

“Yes, they should. How else are we going to know what we’re drinking?”

Photo of John Christian

“I don’t see any problem with them labeling the hormones.”

Photo of Casey Ruggles

“They should have the freedom to do what they want. It’s their way of selling it to customers.”


sara casa 10 years ago

some people like Africa cannot have the stuff! they'll expire!aaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!

jonas 10 years ago

It could be Dillon's on Mass. St. It could also be the Merc, I can't tell. Pretty sure its Dillon's.

What's the argument against allowing them to label their milk as hormone-free? Too competitive?

Richard Heckler 10 years ago

"What's the argument against allowing them to label their milk as hormone-free? Too competitive?"


Frederic Gutknecht IV 10 years ago

If a product has a characteristic that is desirable, why not? ...because then someone else's product will be less desirable? Hmmm... I know there is really no such thing as a free market but I certainly have no problem with such labeling.unless it's a lie. Speaking of which, what's to stop the hormo(a)ners from lying on their milk? It's not like the government is going to check or fine them if they lie...and they can always hide a tiny disclaimer on the label...something like..."We lie for a buck."

kansas778 10 years ago

I only eat and drink animal products that are anitbiotic and hormone free, and certified organic produce. If you put poisons in your body, don't be surprised when you are obese and sick.

Robert bickers 10 years ago

I'm with Blue on this one. Kansas 778, I can't tell if you're passing judgement or not, but this is the internet so I'll assume that was a personal attack on my core beliefs and that you live in someone's basement.

Seriously, if the whole world (especially the US followed only organic, pesticide-free, non-GM farming techniques, the resultant massive global starvation would wipe away any warm fuzzys.

Robert bickers 10 years ago

Oh yeah, the topic at hand . . .

If telling us what's not in a product is their advertising schtick, more power to 'em.

RedwoodCoast 10 years ago

I see a lot of talk about antibiotics but nothing with regard to why they are administered on cattle. With regard to this issue, their administration has nothing to do with fighting infection. The reason cattle are given antibiotics is that, for some reason, it increases their growth rate. Granted, it might have the secondary effect of fighting infections, but it also contributes the evolution of antibiotic-resistant strains of E. coli found the guts of those antibioticified cattle. The bottom line is that cattle are not being given those antibiotics for fighting off infections.

kansas778 10 years ago

Jimbo, unfortunately you are right. Because of commercial farming we have overpopulation, and now we are forced to grow unhealthy foods and pollute the environment and our bodies. But as for me and you and our neighbors, I suggest eating foods without hormones, antibiotics, pesticides and other chemicals, irridation, gentically modified ingrediants, and artificial food additives. If you stay away from one thing, stay away from nitrates and nitrites, found in hot dogs and other processed meats, because they are proven to cause cancer and tumors.

idarastar 10 years ago

Why consume dairy at all? Humans are the only animal that drinks the milk of another animal. Would you give your human breast milk to a cow? I doubt it. The hormones naturally present in cow's milk are meant to make baby cows grow big and strong.

Mkh 10 years ago

Actually Jimbo is incorrect. Most likely it will be the GMO farming practices that lead to global famine due to the fact that companies like Monsanto are literally decreasing the natural bio-diversity of seeds which we depend on for a secure food supply.

Bladerunner 10 years ago

label it whale piss if you want...It's still milk. Who really cares?

Haiku_Cuckoo 10 years ago

Why consume dairy at all?

Because ice cream tastes so darn good. That, in itself, is reason enough.

sgtwolverine 10 years ago

Yikes. Today's OTS comments feature more fringe than a knit blanket in a nursing home.

klim 10 years ago

It's obvious that most of the comments made on this subject come from people that have no idea about animals or the products they produce. Cows do not give birth to cows! They have calves! The cows give milk and sometimes get mastitis. Nursing human mothers get mastitis, nothing to do with growth hormones or rbst. Antibotics treat the infection, but the milk is dumped, therefore, no human ever consumes the antibotics. It is misleading for a few milk producers to label that a product is antibotic free, because all milk is antibotic free! That is the problem. It is not fair to label antibotic free milk when all milk is dumped when antibotic is used on the cow to treat mastitis. Soymilk can be produced by using many different growing techniques, not all natural, to produce the soybean! Goats are lactating animals, just like a cow. All of the same techniques to treat a lactating goat can and are used just like in dairy animals.
For those of you who are worried about every little morsel you put into your body, I hope you don't die from a stroke or heartattack from the stress of worrying!

kansas778 10 years ago

klim: 1. A calf is a cow. 2. They don't throw away the milk, you drink it. 3. The hormones DO have something to do with the mastitis. The labeling on Prosilac (rBGH) says: Cows injected with Prosilac are at increased risk for clinical mastitis. 4. I don't worry about every little morsel I eat because I know it doesn't contain hormones, antibiotics and pesticides. It's as easy as shopping at the right store and reading the label.

KsTwister 10 years ago

"Because Sweden can produce proof that hormones in cow's milk could very well be linked to uterine cancer in women. And New Zealand, Australia and Japan have banned the use of BHT - Bovine Growth Hormone, Canada will not approve it and the EU has a moratorium against its use and continues to maintain this. The EU also prohibits the sale of any products from rBGH cows. The farmers in these places get along very well without it, however the big business in the U.S. keep on using this hormone that is going into the systems of people all over the land."

Well that is good enough for me. Does make me wonder why so many women in the US have osteoporosis and drink the most milk.

sgtwolverine 10 years ago

Yeah, R_I; sometimes you just have to say "feature."

klim 10 years ago

  1. A cow is lactating. Calves do not lactate.
  2. You obviously don't know what you are talking about.
  3. When you get into a car you are at an increased risk of a car crash. The benefits outway the risk.
  4. Good for you!

jonas 10 years ago

"Most likely it will be the GMO farming practices that lead to global famine."

Man, everything with you eventually leads to global disaster. You must not sleep well at night, worrying about the many ways we will all fall into ruin.

sunflower_sue 10 years ago

"Because of commercial farming we have overpopulation, and now we are forced to grow unhealthy foods and pollute the environment and our bodies." -ks778

Um, hate to bring it to your attention, but the food you buy at the Merc is grown by commercial farmers.

"I don't worry about every little morsel I eat because I know it doesn't contain hormones, antibiotics and pesticides. It's as easy as shopping at the right store and reading the label."-ks778

OK, this is just plain naive. Don't get me wrong, the Merc is great... just take off your rose colored glasses before you go in.

Mkh 10 years ago

What can I say jonas, some of us choose to be engaged with the problems concerning mankind. I guess not everyone fills their time with sci-fi fantasies like yourself. You are free to be uninformed, so be it, at your own peril.

sunflower_sue 10 years ago

"Does make me wonder why so many women in the US have osteoporosis and drink the most milk." -kstwister


countrygirl 10 years ago

No, a calf is not a cow. A cow is a mature female. A calf is generally less than 2 years old. Calling a calf a cow is a bit like calling a child an adult. And don't even get me started on trying to explain what a steer is. I've had too many city people turn green during that explanation.

sunflower_sue 10 years ago

countrygirl, does your explanation involve 2 bricks? :D

countrygirl 10 years ago

Chuckle--we band so no bricks needed. I explained to one girl in school that a steer used to be bull until certain things were removed. I thought she was going to faint!

kansas778 10 years ago

Don't be an tool. Under common usage, a "cow" is a bovine of either sex or any age. When kids say, "look a moo-cow!" countrygirl must be all over them with, "No, a cow is the mature female of cattle of the genus Bos, you freaking moron!"

jonas 10 years ago

I think an informed person would realize that, for the large part, there have been people predicting the end of the world in one aspect or another for centuries now, and yet we muddle along. I certainly believe in the necessity of examination and reform of all of our social institutions, mindsets and viewpoint, especially the oldest, most hallowed ones, but when someone comes at me howling about the end of everything from pretty much, well, anything, I tend to think that they're feeding me scare tactics in place of realistic interpretation, or that somewhere along the line they had it fed to them.

But perhaps I should examine and reform that particular viewpoint. It's always possible.

countrygirl 10 years ago

Oh lighten up kansas778. I'm only attempting to educate, not preach. You have to have an open mind in order to put anything in it though.

sunflower_sue 10 years ago

R_I, no labels are needed on lactating humans. Just play a tape of a baby crying and look for forming wet circles. (So glad those days are behind me...and yet...)

Just wondering...would anyone call a baby whale a cow? Things that make you go hmmmmm...

Mkh 10 years ago


Please stop trying to put words in my mouth and just do some darn research before you open your big mouth.

I never said the world was going to end...ever. I was simply responding to Jimbo's assertion that if we didn't have GMOs and instead had "organic" food we would somehow cause world wide starvation. This is an incorrect and misleading statement that needed to be corrected. It is the viewpoint of the leading experts on biodiversity that the opposite is actually what we should be afraid of, that GMO's will cause massive starvation in the long run because they destroy the diversity of seeds. That is why many biodiversity scientists and experts are currently leading a world-wide consumer movement to demand a ban to GMOs, they have already won in Europe. GMOs are probably the most important environmental problem that mankind faces can pretend it's just some ramblings of crazy people, but you are only demonstrating your immense ignorance.

sunflower_sue 10 years ago

So, do I win since I picked 2:50 in the "At what time will R_I blame Al Gore?" pool? :D

sgtwolverine 10 years ago

TOB, that was simply some unfortunate timing; had I seen that question first, I probably would have said, "Not for free."

Jeff Kilgore 10 years ago

Confuse the issue Ret. Irr. NIce job. What I want to know is this: Do you support individual and proprietary freedom, or are you into Monsanto so far, that you no longer care whether small business owners are not bullied or cowied into doing what they desire? You'd think that big old Monsanto wouldn't worry about what a few farmers here and there did with their milk, even if the claims were false, (and they aren't.) Maybe we should just let business (big business, of course) decide what we can and can't do as citizens/businessmen and disband the legislature. The legislature seems redundant to me $ince we know who they "repre$ent."

sunflower_sue 10 years ago

R_I, you should take your billions you got off your Monsanto stock and open up an office in Bangalore with exPat. You greedy dog you! For shame!

Mkh 10 years ago

RI try reading the actual article. Monsanto is clearly involved.

booyalab 10 years ago

here's an example of why people who think organic food can be mass-produced are naive: current demand for organic milk is twice the current supply. So we'd have to more than double the number of organic cows to 280,000 over the next 5 years, despite the fact that the number of dairy farms has decreased to 60,000 from 334,000 in 1980 and the fact that most cattle farms contain over 500 cows each, something that organic purists hate.

booyalab 10 years ago

I don't see a problem with the hormone-free label. It's about as compelling to me as an "alien-free!" label, but it's up to the individual to be educated on the ramifications, not the company.

cabree 10 years ago

I am up in the air on the issue. If you are going to label the product, you need to be able to test the product for the hormone. All milk is antibiotic free because it is tested on every pick up from the farm. At this time there is no test for the BST hormone. If BSt would be taken off the market, the farm would be better off. The milk price would rise because less milk would be on the market. The reason for using the product BSt, is it boost the a cows milk 8 to 10 pound per day. As a consumer I understand the reason you would want it to be labled. But there is no proof that the BST isn't in the product.
As far as organic milk, how do you know it's organic? Several years ago a farm to be certified, had to be free of chemicals for 3 to 5 years. Well then organic milk sales picked up so demand increased, now even some large dairies are claiming to be organic now. Ok, tell me how that can be? The farms buy replacement heifers for the farms, you can not find 6000 cows that have never had a shot or been feed corn, alfafa, and brome hay that has not had fertilizer, or cemicial sprayed on it. Again no test for these are out there.
As far as soy milk, well let just say, I wouldn't drink that for sure. Beans which is where soy come from, is a lot of times round up ready seed, and spray is also used to kill the weeds that keep the field weed free and allows the beans to grow. MONSANTO is your problem not milk.
So the best solution would be to take BSt of the market, and your milk would be BST hormone free.

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