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Why is American Milk Banned in Europe?

American dairy milk is genetically-modified unless it’s labeled “NO rBGH.”

Genetically-engineered bovine growth hormone (rBGH) in milk increases cancer risks.

American dairy farmers inject rBGH to dairy cows to increase milk production.

European nations and Canada have banned rBGH to protect citizens from IGF-1 hazards (since European nations and Canada all have health care systems that are paid for, in part, by the government, their government has a vested interest in keeping the population healthy and health care costs down. European nations and Canada have much stricter environmental laws and laws regulating foods, chemicals and toxins. On average, their citizens live longer than we in the U.S.).

Monsanto Co., the manufacturer of rBGH, has influenced U. S. product safety laws permitting the sale of unlabeled rBGH milk. (Monsanto would lose billions of dollars if rBGH were banned in America.)

Your Milk on Drugs - Just Say No from Jeffrey M. Smith on Vimeo.

IGF-1 and Milk: Q&A

Q. Is there any milk not contaminated with rBGH and IGF-1?
A. Yes. Milk that is clearly labeled “NO rBGH” is free of rBGH and does not
contain excess levels of IGF-1.

Q. What about cheeses?
A. American-made cheeses are contaminated with rBGH and excess levels of IGF-1 unless they’re labeled “NO rBGH”. Imported European cheeses are safe since Europe has banned rBGH.

Q. What is IGF-1?
A. Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1)is a normal growth factor. Excess levels have been increasingly linked by modern research to human cancer development and growth.

Q. How does IGF-1 get into milk?
A. In 1994, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of the recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH). According to rBGH manufacturers, injections of rBGH causes cows to produce up to 20 percent more milk. The growth hormone also stimulates the liver to increase IGF-1 levels in the milk of those cows. Recently, Eli Lilly & Co., a manufacturer of rBGH, reported a ten-fold increase in IGF-1 levels in milk of cows receiving the hormone. IGF-1 is the same in humans and cows, and is not destroyed by pasteurization. In fact, the pasteurization process actually increases IGF-1 levels in milk.

Q. How does rBGH milk containing IGF-1, affect, humans?
A. After the rBGH milk is consumed, IGF-1 is not destroyed by human digestion. Instead, IGF-1 is readily absorbed across the intestinal wall. Additional research has shown that it can be absorbed into the bloodstream where it can effect other hormones.

Q. Is IGF-1 likely to increase the risk of specific kinds of cancer?
A. It is highly likely that IGF-1 promotes transformation of normal breast cells to breast cancers. In addition, IGF-1 maintains the malignancy of human breast cancer cells, including their invasiveness and ability to spread to distant organs. (Increased levels of IGF-1 have similarly been associated with colon and prostate cancers.) The prenatal and infant breast is particularly susceptible to hormonal influences. Such imprinting by IGF-1 may increase future breast cancer risks, and may also increase the sensitivity of the breast to subsequent unrelated risks such as mammography and the carcinogenic and estrogen-like effects of pesticide residues in food, particularly in pre-menopausal women.

Q. Are cows adversely affected by elevated IGF-1 levels?
A. Cows injected with rBGH show heavy localization of IGF-1 in breast (udder) epithelial cells. This does not occur in untreated cows. Cows are also affected in other ways by rBGH, through increased rates of mastitis, an udder infection. Industry data show up to an 80 percent incidence of mastitis in hormone-treated cattle, resulting in the contamination of milk with significant levels of pus. Mastitis requires the use of antibiotics to treat, which leaves residues to pass on through the milk for human consumption.

Q. What does the FDA say about IGF-1?
A. The FDA has trivialized evidence for increased levels in rBGH milk and insist that any such increases in IGF-1 are not dangerous, and do not pose a health risk. However, a 1990 study by Monsanto, the leading maker of rBGH, explicitly revealed statistically significant evidence of growth promoting effects. Feeding relatively low doses of IGF-1 to mature rats for only two weeks resulted in statistically significant and biologically highly significant systemic effects: increased body weight; increased liver weight; increased bone length; and decreased epiphyseal width. The FDA has failed to investigate the effects of long-term feeding of IGF-1 and treated milk on growth. Furthermore, the FDA has been hostile to the labeling of rBGH milk. The agency has prohibited dairy producers and retailers from labeling their milk as "hormone-free," The FDA states that such labeling could be "false or misleading" under federal law. Monsanto is suing several milk producers for using the label.

Q. What have other scientists said about IGF-1?
A. Concerns about increased levels of IGF-1 in milk from cows treated with rBGH are not new. In 1990, the National Institutes of Health Consensus panel on rBGH expressed concerns about adverse health effects of IGF-1 in rBGH milk, calling for further study on health impacts, particularly infants. In 1991, the Council on Scientific Affairs of the American Medical Association stated:" Further studies will be required to determine whether the ingestion of higher than normal concentrations of bovine insulin-like growth factor is safe for children, adolescents and adults." Unfortunately, these studies were never done,


1. Do not buy milk from cows treated with rBGH. Unless the milk-label states “NO rBGH”, you can assume the milk is contaminated. rBGH has become so widely used by dairy farmers. Most health food stores sell rBGH-free milk.

2. Contact your local supermarket and find out if they have a policy regarding rBGH and milk. Make clear that you would like rBGH-free milk.

3. Write to the FDA and express your concern that they are restricting the labeling of rBGH-free milk.

NOTE FROM SUE: One of my friends is married to the President of a major U.S. Agricultural Association/lobby group. They drink nothing but organic and eat only organic meat for this reason (as you notice, in the video, the researchers at Monsanto are said to do as well). They are the ones that mentioned this to me and got me interested.


Epstein, S. S. Potential public health hazards of biosynthetic milk
hormones. International Journal of Health Services, 20:73-84, 1990.

Epstein, S. S. Unlabeled milk from cows treated with biosynthetic
growth hormones: A case of regulatory abdication. International Journal of Health Services, 26(1):173-185, 1996.

More info:
Samuel S. Epstein, M.D., Chairman
Cancer Prevention Coalition
2121 West Taylor Street, M/C 922, Chicago, IL 60612
(312) 996-2297

Views: 63

Comment by Dayhanna on October 7, 2009 at 5:23am
Its not only in our milk! our eggs and meats are also filled with antibiotics and growth hormones. Its hard for me to understand why so many people do not seem to care about this. Great article!
Comment by Sue Copening on October 7, 2009 at 9:10am
I agree. I quit eating most meat in Jan. Now I don't eat it at all at home (except organic, hormone free eggs once in a while). I do eat a little "fatty" fish such as Salmon and Tuna occasionally, but I try to get wild caught Salmon because who knows what they give them at fish farms.

Another thing to watch out for is flexible plastic bottles. There is a chemical our country allows (Canada and the European Union does not - they ban that chemical) that is very bad - alter's our DNA. Our country allows it even in children's chew toys. It's especially not good to carry plastic bottles of water around, especially if you leave them in the car to get hot. I switched to the small size (glass) VOSS water bottles and refill them at home.

This is one of the reason's so many of the big corporate interests are fighting AGAINST any kind of "public option" or government funding of health care. Not only are the insurance and pharmaceutical industries afraid, but the manufacturing industry is too. They know that if Government was funding more of our health care then they would tighten up on laws protecting our health, like they do in all the other countries that have government funded health care (most of which have populations with longer life spans than ours). In those countries, not only do they have tougher environmental and chemical laws, they also do a lot of "wellness" programs and nutritional counseling to KEEP people from getting sick in the first place. Also... most of them have a "fee for patient" system... which means Doctors get paid a flat fee, per patient. this gives the whole health care system an incentive to keep you healthier so they see you less. Unlike our "fee per service" system which gives them an incentive to let you get sick, and then nickel and dime you for as many tests and procedures as they can get approved.



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