milk from BST-treated cows safe for human consumption?
- Bovine somatotropin, whether recombinant or natural, has
no biological effect on humans. This was shown in early
trials of therapy for growth hormone deficiency in
children. Bovine growth hormone, when injected in large
quantities, had no effect. Only human growth hormone was
effective in growing children.
- Bovine somatotropin already exists naturally in milk.
rBST is chemically identical to naturally-produced BST.
About 90% of BST in milk is destroyed by pasteurization,
and it is also denatured when milk is cooked or processed
for baby formula.
- Bovine somatotropin is broken down, like all proteins
that are ingested, into common amino acids. Any trace
amounts of undigested BST are biologically inactive since
it is species-specific.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National
Institutes of Health (NIH), the American Medical
Association's Council on Scientific Affairs, the World
Health Organization, and the American Dietetic
Association, all have concluded after studying the
evidence that milk from BST-treated cows poses no health
risk to humans.
Juskevitch CJ, Guyer CG. Bovine growth hormone:
human food safety evaluation. Science
Grossman CJ. Genetic engineering and the use of
bovine somatotropin. JAMA 1990;264(8):1028.
BST Q and A
Prepared Summer 1997 by Bernadene Magnuson, Ph.D.
University of Idaho, Dept. of Food Science and Toxicology - EXTOXNET FAQ Team.