A hard-hitting documentary, which exposes the health dangers of dairy products from cows treated with Monsanto’s bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST), and the FDA conflicts of interest surrounding its approval, may finally close the book on America’s use of this internationally unpopular drug. Already banned in most other industrialized nations due to its health risks to humans and harm to cows, escalating consumer concern in the US has prompted Wal-Mart, Starbucks, Kroger, and more than 40 of the top 100 dairies , to stop using it.
The film, Your Milk on Drugs—Just Say No, by Jeffrey M. Smith, packs years of the drug’s controversy into 18.5 minutes, beginning with its approval. According to former FDA veterinarian Richard Burroughs who reviewed rBGH, “It was bad science and bad regulation.” Burroughs discovered “flaws” in company research and says, “They just went out and skewed the data.” He says, “This [rBGH] was approved prematurely without adequate information.” Burroughs tried valiantly to require more studies, but says he was fired for holding up the drug’s approval process. Other FDA whistleblowers wrote an anonymous letter to congress, complaining of fraud and conflict of interest.
“There was a corporate takeover at the FDA,” says international bestselling author Jeffrey M. Smith, who wrote and directed the film. “Monsanto’s former attorney was in charge of FDA policy, Monsanto’s former researcher ran the FDA department that evaluated her rBGH research, and Monsanto’s former subcontractor became chief review officer for rBGH.” Smith says, “Independent science didn’t stand a chance.”
The milk controversy spilled across the border into Canada, where senior government scientists testified that they were being pressured by superiors to approve rBGH; that documents were stolen from a locked file cabinet; and that Monsanto allegedly offered their committee a bribe of $1-2 million to approve the drug.
Pus and cancer promoting hormones in your milk
There are at least 16 medical conditions in cows that can result from injections, including a painful udder infection called mastitis that puts more pus in milk. To control it, farmers use more antibiotics on the cows, which promotes antibiotic resistant diseases in humans.
The greater threat in milk from rBGH-treated cows is the much higher levels of the hormone insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). According to Dr. Jenny Pompilio of the Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, it is “not disputed that elevated levels of IGF-1 can promote cancer in humans.” In fact, the American Medical Association (AMA), National Institutes of Health, American Cancer Society, United Nations Codex Alimentarius Committee, and others, have all gone on record with their concerns about the higher levels of IGF-1, The hormone is also a suspected factor for higher rates of fraternal twins in the US. In April, the AMA president urged hospitals to stop using all dairy products from injected cows, and more than 140 hospital-members of Healthcare Without Harm have signed pledges to do just that. Physician members have expressed their practice of buying only rBGH-free products for their families. Several school systems have also adopted rBGH-free purchasing practices.
Monsanto muzzles coverage
Smith’s film includes footage from a four-part news series prepared for the Tampa-based Fox TV station WTVT, originally scheduled to air in 1997. It was canceled, and the investigative reporters were fired, after Fox received threatening letters from Monsanto’s attorney promising “dire consequences” if the series aired.
The film, which was produced by the Institute for Responsible Technology, is available for free on their website www.ResponsibleTechnology.org, and is part of the bonus material in the US DVD release of the acclaimed feature-length documentary, The World According to Monsanto.
Smith believes that “When consumers become aware of the Machiavellian tactics employed by Monsanto, and the serious health dangers linked to their products, they will not only reject rBGH-treated dairy products, but Monsanto’s other genetically modified food products as well.”