Friday, August 22, 2008
I've been waiting to write about Monsanto's sale of Posilac -- or rBGH (bovine growth hormone) or rBST (recombinant bovine somatotropin) -- to Eli Lilly until I heard what the latter company plans to do with it. Unfortunately, according to a column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch -- Monsanto's headquarters is in St. Louis -- Eli Lilly plans to continue providing the synthetic hormone to the animal-agriculture industry.
Eli Lilly said the sale "means farmers have continued access to this vital technology, and that consumers can continue to have access to affordable, wholesome milk."
While it may be affordable, its wholesomeness is another issue. Because rBGH increases a cow's milk production to 10 times what is natural, the stress on the cow leads to an infection of the udder called mastitis. Blood, pus and bacteria from the infection are then released with the milk and consumed by people. To treat the infection, dairy farmers pump the cows full of antibiotics -- just as other farmed animals are -- which leads to disease-resistant strains of bacteria in the animals and in people.
rBGH has been banned in Canada, Japan, Australia and parts of Europe, but the U.S. government hasn't seemed worried about it. Could that be because of Monsanto's ties to the FDA?
Check out this site to see the link Monsanto has had with high government officials.
So while Monsanto has sold rBGH to Eli Lilly, it looks like business as usual within the U.S. dairy industry will continue.