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ISSUE 118 VOL 14 PUBLISHED 3/18/2005

Deja Moo is not all that it seems

By Nicole Zepper
Executive Editor
and Melanie Meinzer
Contributing Writer

Friday, March 18, 2005

After reading the deja moo caf fliers and the article in last week’s Manitou Messenger, I began to take issue with the company’s marketing strategy. I live on a dairy farm in west central Minnesota, and my parents are proud to use rBGH (also known as rBST, or Posilac, by brand name) to treat their dairy cows.

While I don’t fault deja moo for selling rBGH-free milk or Bon Appétit for purchasing this milk, I do have a problem with their insinuations that the use of rBGH is somehow unhealthy or unethical.

According to the University of Minnesota Extension Service, Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH) is a protein naturally produced by the pituitary gland in cows. All milk contains BGH. The “r” in rBGH (which stands for “recombinant”) simply means that the hormone is a laboratory-manufactured copy of the BGH a cow produces naturally. When cows receive rBGH, it increases their milk production by 10 to 15 percent.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Posilac in 1993, and it has been in use since 1994. Scientific studies have led to the authorization of rBGH use in over 50 countries.

The caf fliers call deja moo “socially responsible,” and last week’s article stated that deja moo buys from “farmers who all ascribe to humane treatment of their animals.” This implies that farmers such as my parents, who use hormone treatments, are not being socially responsible or humane.

My parents, and most of the other dairy farming families in our community, treat their cows with rBGH, and have been doing so for 10 years with absolutely no adverse effects on the health of our cows, the quality of our milk or the well-being of the people who consume our dairy products. There is nothing inhumane or irresponsible about the way we treat our animals.

I am simply at a loss as to why Bon Appétit would choose to pay an additional four cents per gallon for milk which is neither safer nor ethically superior to the milk they previously purchased from Kemps. This was not a scientifically-based decision, to say the least.

Through their rBGH-free marketing strategy, deja moo is simply catering to the irrational, unfounded fears of an ill-informed public. Meanwhile, they are destroying the good name of ethical dairy farmers who choose to use rBGH.

Nicole Zepper ‘08

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