According to Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility’s Campaign for Safe Food and the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture released new rules this morning that essentially reverse the ban that was passed late last year on rBGH-free labels for milk. According to the campaign, "Dairy processors [in PA] are again free to use such labels as ‘rBGH- (rBST)- Free,’ ‘Our farmers pledge not to use synthetic growth hormones,’ and ‘From cows not treated with rBGH (rBST).’"
Processors will have to include a disclaimer on their label that the FDA has found "no significant difference" between milk from cows treated with rBGH and milk from rBGH-free cows — but as the group points out, this was already common practice for many processors, who did so in hopes it would keep Monsanto off their backs.
Today’s ruling is phenomenally heartening: sometimes the consumer’s right to know (and, you know, scientific evidence of health impacts from rBGH use) can actually trump Monsanto profits. Meanwhile, though, the battle continues in Ohio and New Jersey, where Monsanto pressure has brought rBGH-free label bans to the legislative table. And then, of course, there’s the whole cloned meat and dairy problem, where consumers may never see a label at all.
I’ll do my best to add updated links as the news on the new ruling comes out. To all those who sent letters, made calls, and otherwise put pressure on the PA Department of Ag, congratulations! Ohio and New Jersey, you’re next.