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article imageBreyers says 'No' to artificial growth hormones

By Karen Graham     Feb 6, 2015 in Food
Unilever has announced it is reformulating its Breyers brand of ice cream, making the decision to not use milk or cream from cows treated with the controversial growth hormone rBST.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Unilever claims it is the largest ice cream producer to make this commitment covering all their ice cream products, including Fruttare, Good Humor, Klondike, Magnum and Popsicle brands. The press release said the company should be rBST-free by March of this year.
In addition, Breyers is teaming up with the rainforest Alliance, an international nonprofit working to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods. Through this initiative, all Breyers vanilla will be sourced from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ vanilla beans from Madagascar.
Most grocery store dairy coolers only contain milk that is rBST-free. The growth hormone, recombinant bovine somatotropin, is a genetically engineered hormone that farmers inject into their cows so that they will produce more milk. This is done, even though the hormone, Bovine somatotropin (BST) is naturally produced in the pituitary glands of cows.
The genetically engineered growth hormone  rBST is also known as rBGH (recombinant Bovine Growth Hor...
The genetically engineered growth hormone, rBST is also known as rBGH (recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone). In the list, those products marked with a star (*) are in the process of becoming rBST-free.
Center for Food Safety
Wal-Mart stopped buying milk from farms using rBST in 2008, but ice cream companies have been slower to take the giant step toward being growth hormone-free. There have been only a small number of the big ice cream companies to make the leap. One of them, Ben and Jerry's, also owned by Unilever, made the move to rBST-free back in 1989. Other companies, like Chipotle, Haagen Dazs, Yoplait and Dannon yogurts have also opted to go rBST-free.
Some of the Pros and Cons of rBST use
Farmers have been told there is actually a decrease in environmental impact from the use of rBST in increasing milk production. How is this possible? Scientists say the use of rSBT results in more milk by volume using less feed. Because of this, the carbon footprint of a cow is also reduced. Proponents of rBST will tell you that if just 15 percent of the nation's dairy cows were on rBST, the carbon footprint to produce an extra 10 pounds of milk per cow would be equivalent to taking 400,000 cars off the road or planting 300 million trees each year.
As to the question of whether or not milk from rBST injected cows is safe, well that's another matter. Of course, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it's safe, as do other studies conducted on the rBST hormone. But, it is surprising that the use of rBST in cows has been banned in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Israel and the European Union. A report issued on March 10, 1999 by the EU stated that the use of rBST caused "severe and unnecessary pain, suffering and distress" for cows, "associated with serious mastitis, foot disorders and some reproductive problems."
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