Oakhurst Dairy, a small Maine dairy, was sued earlier this summer by the Monsanto Corporation because they dared to put a label on their milk cartons reading: “No Artificial Growth Hormones.” According to Oakhurst, a trial date has been set for January 5, 2004, and they have won a small victory: the judge refused Monsanto’s request for an injunction forcing Oakhurst to remove the labels until then. The dairy also submitted a request the trial be moved to Maine, where they do most of their business. Monsanto holds the copyright to the artificial growth hormone, rGBH, and plans to argue in court Oakhurst should remove the warning label since they think it implies their milk is healthier. Although the USFDA approved the use of the growth hormone by examining research provided them by Monsanto, both Canada and the European Union have banned it. Oakhurst says that they label their milk because the growth hormone is unproven and they want to provide Maine consumers a choice.
Don’t be surprised if you haven’t heard about the dangers of rGBH, Monsanto successfully got two Pulitzer-prize winning journalists fired after they tried to report on a Canadian study that concluded Monsanto’s synthetic hormone needed more testing because some lab rats developed thyroid cysts and infiltration in the prostate, and milk produced by cows given BGH contained high levels of IGF-1, a compound that has been linked to increased risk of breast, colon and prostate cancers.