Alternatives to artificial hormones

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Alternatives to artificial hormones

One of the very first genetically-engineered products to be brought into the marketplace was a synthetic growth hormone engineered to increase the animal's growth. It allows cows to grow faster but also produce 20% more milk. Now we took a position against that, we being Stonyfield, my company, back in the 1990s, because you know if nature intended the cow to produce more milk then she'd be producing more milk. So when you have a cow get injected with a hormone and produce more, you know there are bound to be health effects down the line. And what we were seeing is that there were severe impacts on the animals. There legs were breaking while they were standing in the tie stalls because you were depleting calcium that would otherwise go into bone development. It was also driving down the price being paid to family farmers. In other words, the surplus of milk from the hormones meant there was extra milk being put in the marketplace, and this was driving the price down. And while that's good for us as consumers, it's terrible for family farmers. We believe that unless individual families, people are growing our food we're not going to have a healthy food system. So all in all, it's been a bad idea. For starters, you can get non-BST milk. Even if you can't afford or don't want to buy organic milk, most of the milks or the yogurts that are from cows not injected will say it right on the label. But of course organic is the one certified way, whether it's meat or dairy. Because again, we're prohibited from allowing those chemicals to be used. Just having the organic label by law requires that you don't use them.

Watch Video: Alternatives to artificial hormones by Gary Hirshberg, ...


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Gary Hirshberg

Gary Hirshberg is Chairman of Stonyfield Farm, the world’s leading organic yogurt producer, and Managing Director of Stonyfield Europe. He is also the Chairman and Founding Partner of “Just Label It, We Have the Right to Know,” the national campaign to label GE foods. Gary has received twelve honorary doctorates and numerous awards for corporate and environmental leadership including a 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award by the US EPA.

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