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AGRI-MARK/CABOT “rBST-FREE” Misrepresentations Demand Consumer Education (pr)

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INSTITUTE FOR RESPONSIBLE TECHNOLOGY
FAIRFIELD, IOWA
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 3, 2011
CONTACT: NJ Jaeger (310) 377-0915, Institute for Responsible Technology
                       
 
AGRI-MARK/CABOT “rBST-FREE” MISREPRESENTATIONS DEMAND CONSUMER EDUCATION
 
A ruling today against Agri-Mark, Inc., better known to consumers as the Cabot Creamery Cooperative, has shown its many of its products were not rBST-free as claimed, and were in violation of the Vermont Consumer Fraud Act’s ban on deceptive trade practices. A leading consumer safety organization, The Institute for Responsible Technology, welcomes the ruling, and believes that the disinformation practices revealed in the case are typical of the deceptive practices faced by a growing number of American consumers who want to know if their foods have been Genetically Modified (GM).    
 
Executive Director, Jeffrey Smith, a leading consumer advocate promoting healthier non-GMO choices says, “Many consumers purchased Cabot’s brands specifically to avoid rBST. The milk from cows treated with this genetically engineered drug has higher levels of the hormone IGF-1 (insulin-like grow factor 1), which is linked to a major increase in cancer risk.” Smith says, “Cabot’s misrepresentation exposed conscientious consumers to serious health risks.”
 
The cow hormone is banned in most industrialized nations, including Canada, Europe, Japan, and Australia. Experts accuse the US FDA of ignoring the documented health risks in its controversial approval of Monsanto’s rBST in 1994. Critics also point out apparent conflicts of interest at the agency:
 
Monsanto’s former attorney Michael Taylor was in charge of FDA policy. (He later became Monsanto’s vice president, and is now the US Food Safety Czar.)
Susan Sechen, who was leading the drug’s review for the FDA, was formerly under contract with Monsanto for work on the same drug.
And Margaret Miller, who did rBST research at Monsanto, became the head of an FDA division that evaluated her own research.
 
Due to consumer concerns about the links to cancer, rBST (also known as rBGH) has been kicked out of Wal-Mart’s milk, Yoplait and Dannon’s yogurt, and most American dairies.
 
Transparency needed for ALL GMOs

Smith praises Vermont Attorney General Sorrell’s statement, “There is no excuse for shading the truth about rBST or any other aspect of our food supply.”  Yet under U.S. law, Smith says, genetically engineered organisms (GMOs) do not need to be listed on ingredient labels.
 
“There’s now considerable evidence that GMOs like soy and corn also carry significant health risks,” says Smith. In fact, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) cites animal studies showing reproductive, immune, and gastrointestinal problems with GMOs and urges all doctors to prescribe non-GMO diets to every patient.” 
 
The AAEM’s former president, Dr. Jennifer Armstrong says, "Physicians are probably seeing the effects of eating GM foods their patients, but need to know how to ask the right questions."

“There are hardly any GMO studies on humans,” says Smith. “One demonstrated that genes inserted into GM crops can transfer into the DNA of the bacteria living inside our intestines. And a recent study in Canada revealed that an insecticide produced by genetically modified corn was found in the blood of women and unborn fetuses.”
 
The UK Daily Mail says the new Canadian study, “appears to blow a hole in” safety claims, and “has triggered calls for a ban on imports and a total overhaul of the safety regime for genetically modified (GM) crops and food.”

Smith explains that currently commercialized GM crops in the U.S. include soy (93%), cotton (93%), canola (90%), corn (86%), sugar beets (95%), Hawaiian papaya (more than 50%), zucchini, yellow squash, and alfalfa. Since there is no required labeling of brands containing these items, or milk from cows treated with rBST, the Institute for Responsible Technology offers a Non-GMO Shopping Guide at www.NonGMOShoppingGuide.com to help consumers make healthier non-GMO choices.

The Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT)
The Institute for Responsible Technology is a world leader in educating policy makers and the public about genetically modified (GM) foods and crops. IRT investigates and reports the risks and impacts of GMOs on health, the environment, the economy, and agriculture, as well as the problems associated with current research, regulation, corporate practices, and reporting.
Links to GM Health Risk Studies, Articles and References
AAEM Position Statement
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