Monsanto Sues Dairy for False Advertising

Jul 10, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Monsanto has sued Oakhurst Dairy of Portland, Maine over milk labels that the
biotechnology giant claims deceives consumers.

Oakhurst’s milk labels include the statement claiming its milk doesn’t contain
any artificial growth hormones. It reads, “Our Farmers’ Pledge: No Artificial
Growth Hormones.”

Jennifer Garrett, director of technical services for Monsanto’s dairy business
told the Portland (ME) Press Herald, “They’re marketing a perception that one
milk product is safer or of higher quality than other milk,” said Jennifer Garrett,
director of technical services for Monsanto’s dairy business. “Numerous scientific
and regulatory reviews throughout the world demonstrate that that’s unfounded.
The milk is the same, and the amount of protein, fats, nutrients, etc., are
all the same.”

Moderator’s Comment: What are your thoughts Monsanto
versus Oakhurst Dairy?

To the casual observer, this case may seem as though the
big corporate giant (Monsanto) is picking on the small local business (Oakhurst

We’d like to suggest, however, this is a suit easily settled
by reasonable people.

Scientific research does back Monsanto’s viewpoint. Milk
from cows injected with bovine growth hormone (bgh) or its scientific name bovine
somatatropin (bST) is chemically undistinguishable to that coming from cows
not given the hormone. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) backed this scientific
view when it approved bST for use on dairy farms.

Oakhurst is correct also. Many consumers do not want milk
from cows given bST, no matter the science, either because they don’t know or
trust the research or because they don’t like the idea of cows being given a
hormone to stimulate additional milk production. It isn’t as if there is a milk
shortage we have to deal with.

Our recommendation to Oakhurst would be to change the
label to read (presuming it is true) “Milk Produced by Cows Not Given Any Artificial

If the dairy did this, Monsanto should pack up its legal
briefs and go home.

We’re not optimistic reason will win out in this case.
Anderson – Moderator

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