Should Milk from BST-treated Cows be Labeled as Such?

FDA requires warning notices only when foods undergo significant changes that, for example, reduce the nutrients or introduce allergens. Genetically engineered BST is identical to the naturally occurring form, and so is the milk from cows treated with BST. There is no difference in the protein, milk solids, fat content or level of BST in milk from cows receiving supplemental BST. The FDA therefore does not require a warning. Some individual states have labeling laws regarding rBST.

On November 5, 1993, FDA was satisfied that the necessary safety and efficacy tests had been met, and therefore approved the BST product made by Monsanto. Because Congress mandated a 90-day moratorium on the sale of bST, commercial sale of the product did not begin until February 3, 1994. On February 8, 1994, FDA published interim guidelines on the voluntary labeling of milk and milk products from cows that have not been supplemented with rBST. The highlights:

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Prepared Summer 1997 by Bernadene Magnuson, Ph.D.
University of Idaho, Dept. of Food Science and Toxicology - EXTOXNET FAQ Team.