The United States is one country that allows humans to consume milk from cows that were given artificial growth hormone. Posilac is banned in Japan, New Zealand, Canada and Australia. It is also banned in several other European nations. Some retailers and products are now tagged as RBST-free after controversies regarding safety and efficacy have been raised. Here are some more reasons why cow growth hormone can be dangerous.
About the Hormone
Cow growth hormone also comes in several other names like bovine somatotropin, BST or bovine growth hormone or BGH. This is a protein hormone that naturally occurs in cows and cattle. It also has a function in the development and growth of the organism. It has been possible to artificially make the hormone via recombinant DNA technology, thereby making rBST or recombinant bovine somatotropin or artificial growth hormone. Monsanto company was the pioneer in developing the technology and marketing it under the name Posilac. Posilac is now owned by Elanco Animal Health, an Eli Lilly and Company division.
Giving BST initially presented the efficacy of boosting milk yield among lactating cows by preventing the death of mammary cells among the animals. Later on, only bovine cadavers were the source of the hormone. Posilac was produced via a genetically engineered E. Coli. According to Monsanto company states that the hormone can boost milk production in dairy cows by 10% or more over 300 days. rBGH use is present in 17.2% of all cows and 15.2% of activities according to the USDA Dairy Survey.
A couple of studies have been named and published regarding the effects of rBST on the health of cattle. The increase in milk output also lead to the increased risk of clinical mastitis. Cows also decreased fertility by 40% and the development of lameness increased by 55%. Other disorders also developed that compromised the health and welfare of the cows. Problems that stemmed include mastitis, injection site problems and foot problems. The report finished by saying that rBST should not be used. Canada also banned selling of the product because of its dangers to animal health.
Human concerns on rBST feature three areas:
- Heightened IGF levels
- rBST and the byproducts
- Secondary effects like the heightened antibiotic use for mastitis treatment
The cow produces IGF as a reaction to the injections given. This is the same hormone that boosts milk production and growth. Porcine IGF-I and bovine IG-I are the same as human IGF-I. IGF-II has differences among various animal species. IGF has an important function in the development of new tumors. Heightened levels of IGF-I is also connected to the increased risk of development prostate cancer, colon cancer and breast cancer. There is not a definite cause and effect link because IGF is also included in several other biological phases. It is also not denatured by pasteurization. Milk consumption from cows treated with the hormone will then boost the IGF daily intake. More controversies rose in recent years.