Call me idealist, but I give our elected officials and public servants the befit of the doubt – that they are acting in our best interests to the best of their (sometimes limited) knowledge. This interview both confirms and explodes that belief. From the CBC’s public affairs show of Nov 22 2012, two Canadian scientists from Health Canada’s Food Inspection Agency explain the pressures they felt (to the point of being fired) to allow the use of Eli Lilly and Monsanto’s Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (RBGh) in Canadian dairy cattle.
RBGh is a synthetic, laboratory produced version of a hormone that cattle produce cyclically during their growth, maturation and lactation. It is administered to increase milk production in adult cows. RBGh has been strongly linked to several metabolic diseases both in dairy cattle and in humans consuming milk produced by cattle being treated with RBGh. Luckily, Canadian dairy farmers are not allowed to use RBGh on their animals.
The bad news – the Canadian government has slowly changed Canadian dairy regulations (in the face of pressures from GATT and NAFTA agreements) to allow freer access to Canada’s markets for American dairy products (including those from cows treated with RBGh). In an effort to reduce “protectionism” and to allow “market forces” to dictate what’s best for us, our dairy marketing laws have been slackened to allow access to our grocery shelves to U.S. dairy products. The American products allowed access to Canadian markets are dehydrated products. They are listed as “milk ingredients”, “concentrated skim milk”, “whey protein concentrate” or “milk protein concentrate”. Using milk products from cows treated with RBGh is a sneaky way to help keep the cost of your yogurt and other dairy products artificially low. Even in the U.S.A., many small farmers have stopped using RBGh on their cattle because they noticed the negative health effects. Most industrial farming operations (factory farms) still use this hormone as a way to keep production up and costs down. When you consume products with RBGh milk, you expose yourselves to serious health risks (cancer, thyroid and gonadal problems, allergy and inflammation problems) and you indirectly encourage poor animal welfare practices.
Read the ingredients and think don’t buy dairy products labelled with “milk ingredients”, “concentrated skim milk”, “whey protein concentrate” or “milk protein concentrate”. It’s that simple. Vote with your wallet, and when the next election comes to your neighbourhood – ask questions of those vying for office. Don’t blindly trust their good intentions.
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