Government for the people? What people?
Yesterday, I read this article in the New York Times that talks about Pennsylvania’s recent decision to ban labels on milk and dairy products that say it comes from cows that haven’t been treated with artificial bovine growth hormone, which is sometimes known as rBGH or rBST.
The PA Department of Agriculture’s reason for the ban? Basically, that consumers are too dumb to understand the distinction, and that labeling dairy products as rBGH or rBSt free implies that dairy products produced with the use of these artificial hormones are inferior.
Those ridiculous arguments aside, the problem with this ban is that it eliminates a clear and important choice for consumers.
Despite what the federal government says about artificial hormones, not every one feels comfortable having them in their food (myself and Mark included). Quite frankly, I don’t give a rat’s butt what the FDA says. The FDA, in my opinion, is so deeply embedded with hosts of special interest groups and lobbyists that I take a fraction of what they say to heart.
Now, organic milk does not contain rBGH or rBStT, so anyone in Pennsylvania looking to avoid the hormones can still buy organic. However, organic milk is expensive—beyond the means of a lot of families—and if avoiding the hormones is your biggest concern, you have a viable and more affordable option in dairy products labeled “hormone free.” Or at least you did. Now, the government in Pennsylvania has taken that choice from you. And that, to put it plainly, sucks.
I have to assume that someone at the PA Department of Agriculture just got his or her pockets lined by ultra-profitable Monsanto (biggest producer of the artificial hormones) or some other lobbyist representing hormone-using dairy farmers. There doesn’t seem to be any other viable reason.
Why should I, or you, care about this ban if you don’t live in Pennsylvania (as I do not)? Well, Ohio is considering a similar ban. If there’s one thing I’ve observed in my lifetime, stupid government ideas seem to catch hold like wildfire spreading faster than lice at a sleepover.
So I’m just putting this out there, for anyone who is thinking of trying to slip this through the New Jersey legislature. Don’t. Even. Try. It.