A victory for truth-in-labeling
by Jim Hightower
Question: what do biotech corporations, national milk processors and the Ohio state government have in common? Answer: defeat!
Such biotech powerhouses as Monsanto and Eli Lilly are the profiteers behind an artificial growth hormone that induces dairy cows to produce more milk. This stuff is not good for the cows, and it produces nutritionally inferior milk. It also horrifies consumers, who tend to get a bit testy at the thought of having what actually is a sex hormone added to the milk their children drink.
However, big milk marketers like the idea of squeezing out more milk per cow for it fattens their bottom lines. The only problem is that little matter of consumer rejection. But the biotechers and marketers fixed that by getting federal regulators to declare that adulterated milk need not be labeled as such. In short, the industry, the government and even the cows know about the sex hormones, but consumers are kept in the dark.
Nonetheless, many organic and smaller dairy businesses have had the audacity to label their products as “hormone-free” and consumers have rushed to them. This spurred the hormone hucksters into a cross-country lobbying frenzy, demanding that various state governments ban hormone-free labels.
Ohio swallowed this corporate line, outlawing labels that tell consumers what’s NOT in their milk. Now, however, in a case brought by the Organic Trade Association, the U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled that such bans are not only ridiculous but also unconstitutional, violating the free speech rights of dairy producers who want to be straight with consumers.
The court's decision is a major defeat for the 15-year effort by the corporate powers to hide their perfidy from milk buyers. To learn more, contact the Organic Trade Association: www.ota.com.
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