Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania and the Northeast Dairy Producers Association have joined a long list of organizations urging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach to rein in misleading advertising of dairy products. At issue is the proliferating use of "rBST-free" milk labels.
Jonathan Lamb, chairman of NEDPA, and Logan Bower, president of PDMP, contend that the growing use of misleading advertising is nothing less than an "alarming and unacceptable" drive to capture market opportunity. They've requested a meeting with FDA officials.
Advertising of rBST-free milk, for example, can "erode consumer confidence in milk and dairy products in general," claim Bower and Lamb. Other advertisements read "no hormones", "no pesticides" or "no antibiotics". That implies "that other choices in the dairy case are unsafe and contain hormones, pesticides or antibiotics."
Yet FDA verified long ago the safety of rBST. And they point out, "All milk is tested for antibiotics before it's processed and packaged for sale. Additionally, the 2003 FDA residue monitoring study indicates milk, butter and cheese were all free of pesticide residues."
PDMP and NEDPA represent more than 350 dairy producers who collectively own over 130,000 cows. You can find the complete text of their FDA request at: www.pdmp.org/issues/Labeling_IssueFDA.pdf.
For more on this controversy, see page 9 in April's issue of American Agriculturist.