Last week, despite strong citizen and farmer opposition, the Kansas state legislature passed a bill that would limit a farmer’s right to tell their customers about the way they produce milk. Kansas House Bill 2121 included language specifying that, "dairy products promoted as being produced by cows that don't receive injections of artificial bovine growth hormone, also known as rbST or rBGH, would have to include a disclaimer on the label."
The required disclaimer would read: "the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined there are no significant differences between milk from cows that receive injections of the artificial hormone and milk from those that do not." That statement is based on an 18-year-old FDA review; however, FDA’s own publications, as well as subsequent scientific studies have shown that there are significant differences, some of which may affect human health. The Kansas bill also goes against long-established Federal policy as outlined by the FDA in a July 27, 1994 letter to New York Department of Agriculture and Markets: "The bottom line is that a contextual statement is not required...and in no instance is the specific statement 'No significant difference has been shown...' required by FDA."
In addition, the Legislature tacked on the dairy labeling rules of HB 2295 as a rider on HB 2121 without a hearing in the Senate Agriculture Committee. This denied the numerous opponents of labeling restrictions the chance to testify. Even with the lack of proper debate, the bill barely passed the Senate by a 22-15 vote, just two votes short of failing, demonstrating that there is barely a mandate for labeling changes in Kansas.
Due to growing consumer demand, companies are removing rbGH from their dairy products across the country. In addition, over 160 hospitals all over the country have pledged to serve rbGH-free products and the past president of the American Medical Association said in a letter to all AMA members that hospitals should serve only milk produced without rbGH. And, more than half of the 100 largest dairy processors in the country have gone partially or completely rbGH-free to satisfy consumer demand.
Tell Governor Sebelius, our future Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, which houses the Food and Drug Administration, to head into her new position on the right foot by vetoing this unnecessary and unwanted bill!
How silly. An outdated report is to be used for the disclaimer. My issue with this is that dairies are going out of business rapidly, due to high feed costs, and low milk prices. We slap yet another bill onto these dairies what do you think happens? More dairies go out of business. Small farmers, farm to consumer dairies can actually make it easier than the larger commercial dairies. Larger dairies usually belong to a co-op. You might pay $3.00 a gallon but your farmer may only make $1.12 per gallon. (of course this varies by co-op) And it takes $1.40 to produce a gallon. But many farmers don't go by the gallon, they go by a hundred-weight. They need $18 per hundred-weight to make even, but they on average are only making $10.50 per hundred-weight.
A local man (local as in Kansas) south of me is loosing $1,500 a day. He will be going out of business if this keeps up. Now let's tack on unnecessary bills, like NAIS and this food label. Private dairies will fold even faster than they are now.
If you can, buy local milk, farm to consumer.
And if you want to send a letter to Your future HHS Director (which is part of he FDA) a letter, you can do so from here.