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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.”

Comments

sara casa 6 years, 1 month ago

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

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RedwoodCoast 6 years, 1 month 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.

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none2 6 years, 1 month ago

I think a lot of the people whining about dairy are just jealous because milk personally gives them gas...

My grandma was less than 3 months away from her 100th birthday when she died. One of the few things she could still enjoy eating towards the end was strawberry ice cream -- not coffee, not organic veggies, organic fruits, or other over priced organically certified foods. I seriously doubt that her eating habits caused her to loose much off her lifespan. People have forgotten how crops used to be destroyed by insects, bacteria, fungi, viruses and all sorts of problems. Sure maybe we have gone a bit far with some things, but the fact of the matter is humans have a longer lifespan than they used to have in the past when organic was the only thing possible. If we have to have antibiotic free milk, what is next? Should we forbid women of child bearing age from ever getting antibiotics because if the breast feed, the child may be contaminated by antibiotics?

I love dairy and it has been in European culture for centuries. Cheese, milk, & butter are all wonderful products. Maybe they aren't for everybody, but what is other than air and water? Likewise, dairy does NOT involve killing the animal to get some useful products from that animal. Further more, there are other such relationships in the animal kingdom. For instance, there are ants that control aphids because they love the sap the produce.

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Multidisciplinary 6 years, 1 month ago

Okay folks, it time for you to take your turn making a Milkman Dan comic about this.

http://monkeydyne.com/rmcs/buildmeat.html

Go to it!

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cabree 6 years, 1 month 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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Marion Lynn 6 years, 1 month ago

I find it very interesting that people pay no attention to the very negative effects of eating soy; the evidence of which may be found in a simple Google search.

The stuff ain't good for you.

The dairies should be allowed to lable their milk in any manner they wish as long as that lableling is not in any way deceptive.

Government needs to get out of our bedrooms and our food.

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 6 years, 1 month ago

Mkh, Gosh, if I had read the article, I would have posted on the article. :) The OTS question was "Do you think dairy farmers should be able to label their milk as hormone-free?" I never answered that question...

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booyalab 6 years, 1 month 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.

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booyalab 6 years, 1 month 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.

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Mkh 6 years, 1 month ago

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

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 6 years, 1 month ago

jkilgore, Now I'm confused just where in the confusing discussion, that you got confused that I confused the discussion.

No Monsanto, no Ronaldo semi-retire. If your son got a job with Monsanto after he graduates this spring, will you ex-communicate him?

I thought it was the Kansas Dairy Association and large dairys that were pushing the bill to prevent "niche" labeling. But they must be funded and the evil pawns of Monsanto?

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sunflower_sue 6 years, 1 month 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!

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Jeff Kilgore 6 years, 1 month 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."

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 6 years, 1 month ago

Biodiversity, Mr. Internet Explorer and everyone else can be marginalized?

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sgtwolverine 6 years, 1 month ago

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

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The_Original_Bob 6 years, 1 month ago

You make whores moan by celebrating biodiversity? I usually do it by telling them that they'll have to take a check, because I'm out of cash. I'm a gentleman like that. Caring and thoughtful.

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Crossfire 6 years, 1 month ago

How do you make a Whore moan?

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sunflower_sue 6 years, 1 month ago

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

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 6 years, 1 month ago

kansas778, As a wee laddie I never uddered the words "look a moo-cow!" I used to say "look, a cloven hoofed thingy with methane gas flatus coming from its rectum" . . I blame Al Gore for this milk labeling war.

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Mkh 6 years, 1 month ago

Jonas,

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 today...you can pretend it's just some ramblings of crazy people, but you are only demonstrating your immense ignorance.

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sunflower_sue 6 years, 1 month 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...

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countrygirl 6 years, 1 month 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.

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jonas 6 years, 1 month 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.

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kansas778 6 years, 1 month 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!"

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countrygirl 6 years, 1 month 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!

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 6 years, 1 month ago

Next question, Should lactating humans have labels?

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blue73harley 6 years, 1 month ago

R_I - I guess I will continue to be at-risk until the Merc starts carrying "all natural" bourbon.

TOB - thanks for the tip. Here is one in return. In a foolish attempt to support the Ks. economy, I have learned recently that the folks in Atchison do NOT know how to make whiskey. Avoid a brand called "Most Wanted" at all costs!

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sunflower_sue 6 years, 1 month ago

countrygirl, does your explanation involve 2 bricks? :D

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countrygirl 6 years, 1 month 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.

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sunflower_sue 6 years, 1 month ago

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

Wah?

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Mkh 6 years, 1 month 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.

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 6 years, 1 month ago

That's the great thing about drinking bourbon:no worries about antibiotics OR expiration dates.- blue73harley

But blue, What, what, what about the GMO corn and wheat the bourbon is made from? GMO corn, for example, has been linked to problems of the blood (leukemia), blood pressure, kidney, liver (including significant changes kidney weight as well as lesions on the kidney and liver), allergies to infection, increased blood sugar levels, diseases, and yes, even cancer. These are not minor problems, but major changes in the body. These are a toxic reactions to a poison.

But on the otherhand, so has everything else? Did you know death has been linked to decomposition, and sex has been linked to the introduction of rugrats?

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sunflower_sue 6 years, 1 month 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.

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jonas 6 years, 1 month 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.

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klim 6 years, 1 month 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!
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blue73harley 6 years, 1 month ago

That's the great thing about drinking bourbon...no worries about antibiotics OR expiration dates. It really isn't great on Captain Crunch though.

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sgtwolverine 6 years, 1 month ago

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

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KsTwister 6 years, 1 month 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.

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kansas778 6 years, 1 month 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.

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 6 years, 1 month ago

Damn sgt, Pretty free use of the f-word don't you think?

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klim 6 years, 1 month 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!

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sgtwolverine 6 years, 1 month ago

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

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Haiku_Cuckoo 6 years, 1 month ago

Why consume dairy at all?

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

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The_Original_Bob 6 years, 1 month ago

I'm not sure labeling it as whale piss is a good marketing move. Penis enhancer would be better.

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Bladerunner 6 years, 1 month ago

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

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Mkh 6 years, 1 month 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.

www.seedsofdeception.com

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idarastar 6 years, 1 month 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.

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 6 years, 1 month ago

Are they still going to "fortify" the milk with prohormone vitamin D, and Vitamin A in skim milk?

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 6 years, 1 month ago

I ¥ Monsanto. Damn good preforming stock.

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BABBOY 6 years, 1 month ago

I do not really get the question. Are they hormone free? What does hormone free mean? If they are hormone free, then there is no issue -- label away. But, I can't answer because I do not if they really are hormone free.

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kansas778 6 years, 1 month 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 LJWorld.com 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.

http://www.preventcancer.com/consumers/food/hotdogs.htm

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Stain 6 years, 1 month ago

Saying what's in the cow is not the same as making health claims for the milk.

I don't believe there is no test that can detect hormones and antibiotics in the finished product.

It's known the hormones cause the cows to get mastitis much more often, which results in pus and blood in the milk.

Anyway, the dairy industry has been allowed to make all sorts of public claims about how good cow's milk is for humans. That is definitely controversial. Cow's milk is the worst allergen for infants. Cow's milk is associated with ear infections in kids, and congestion in adults. Lots of adults have lactose intolerance and don't even know it; LT is not actually a disease but the natural state of a large segment of the human population. Entire cultures have nothing to do with cow's milk.

The dairy industry ought to be suppressed from making widespread claims that their cow's milk is good for human beings. They've been pushing this idea in the public schools for many decades.

On the other hand, the hormone-free dairy farmers are just trying putting accurate labeling on their product without making any claims at all about the benefits.

It's an outrage that the Kansas legislature is even considering this.

Write the chairman of the committee that is considering this in the legislature, here:

taddiken@senate.state.ks.us

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Robert bickers 6 years, 1 month ago

Oh yeah, the topic at hand . . .

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

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Robert bickers 6 years, 1 month 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.

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kansas778 6 years, 1 month 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.

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JJE007 6 years, 1 month 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."

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Marion Lynn 6 years, 1 month ago

Food labelling should not restrict the ability of merchants, producers or wholesalers to list what is not in a given product.

We have too many laws put in place by too many private agencies which have too much control.

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i_tching 6 years, 1 month ago

Markets are asymmetrical. The producer/seller has much more information than the consumer regarding products and services.

In a truly free market the consumer would not be deliberately held to such disadvantage.

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Groanmaggot 6 years, 1 month ago

I think towns kansas should be made 'conservitive free'.....

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blue73harley 6 years, 1 month ago

Sure. But it would not be a decision factor for me on whether or not to buy it. Hey, I figure I am doing pretty good on most days to remember to look at the expiration date.

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Richard Heckler 6 years, 1 month ago

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

Yep...

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jonas 6 years, 1 month 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?

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labmonkey 6 years, 1 month ago

Asked at Mass. Street huh.....

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