Slow Food for Thought...

“Defending the earth means safeguarding biodiversity, the landscape and farming. Those who haven’t seen the importance of farming haven’t understood anything!”
Carlo Petrini, Founder of Slow Food

Friday, January 18, 2008

Victory on rBGH Labeling in Pennsylvania

For those of of you following the milk labeling debate in Pennsylvania and here in Ohio, The Center for Food Safety has issued the following update today.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) has backed down from a
controversial ban on the use of labels on milk products. The agency had issued
new rules in October, set to go into effect February 1st that would have barred
dairy companies or milk producers from labeling their products as from cows not
treated with rBGH. PDA argued that a misleading impression might be conveyed by
identifying milk as coming from cows not treated with synthetic hormones.
Pennsylvania would have been the first state to implement such a labeling
ban.


The ban was rescinded yesterday after a review by Pennsylvania
Governor Rendell due to consumer outcry. True Food Network members, along with
our allies, sent thousands of emails and made hundreds of calls to Governor
Rendell urging him to not to put this ban in place. Your calls and emails
worked!

Though labels are once again permitted to mention that hormones were
not used, the standards require a disclaimer stating that the FDA has found no
difference in milk from cows injected with the synthetic hormone and milk from
cows that are not injected. Such disclaimers already are printed on many dairy
products. The new regulations also require dairies to maintain procedures to
verify any production methods claimed on their labels, including keeping a paper
audit trail. (Read "State Revises Hormone Label for Milk, The New York
Times
for more information) Pennsylvania was the first state to
consider putting such a labeling ban in place, but other states including
Washington, Missouri, and Ohio, seem to be following suit by considering regulations
similar to those which Pennsylvania abandoned today. New Jersey had until
recently taken the matter under consideration but has since determined not to
take action.

While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has ruled that rbGH use is
safe, serious human and animal health questions remain, and it has been prohibited in Canada and the European Union. U.S. consumers have shown they prefer rBGH-free products, and that they want them labeled as such. In fact, an April 2007 Lake
Research Partners national survey shows that eight in ten adults (80%) feel
dairy products originating from cows that have not been treated with rBGH should
be allowed to be labeled as such.

A broad coalition of groups including consumers, dairies, farming
groups, and environmental organizations requested the changes announced
today. Stay tuned for updates and actions on similar labeling bans in
other states. If you have not already, please consider sending
an email and making a call to Ohio Governor Strickland
on this issue as
well!


We'll attempt to keep Slow Food members informed on this issue as it unfolds in the state of Ohio. In the meantime, we support the Center for Food Safety's advice and urge you all to send an email or make a call to Governor Strickland to voice your opinion on the matter. It does make a difference!

For more information, please visit The Center for Food Safety.

Keep in Touch!

If your email changes, please let us know. Send email to membership@slowfoodusa.org to update your contact information.