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July 10, 2009
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Food & Water Watch Launches 'Healthy School Milk or Bust' Tour Across the Midwest

Consumer Group Will Promote New Report to Highlight Need for Hormone-Free Milk in Schools

WASHINGTON - July 10 - Today, Food & Water Watch, a national consumer advocacy group, kicked off its "Healthy School Milk or Bust" tour and hit the road to secure healthy milk for schoolchildren. Traveling in a cow-themed van from July 10th - July 20th, Food & Water Watch will be visiting county fairs, farmers' markets and senators' offices in six states to gear up for this year's re-authorization of the Child Nutrition Act - a bill that is designed to help meet the nutritional needs of children through the National School Lunch Program and other feeding programs.

"The road to healthier milk in our schools starts in our local communities," said Wenonah Hauter, Food & Water Watch executive director. "The ‘Healthy School Milk or Bust' Tour is an opportunity to engage and educate consumers who may be unaware that our nation's schools are becoming a dumping ground for milk that Americans are increasingly avoiding."

Food & Water Watch has been working with parents, consumers, farmers, health professionals and teachers to ensure that schools have the option to purchase organic milk or milk not treated with the recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH).  A new report released today by Food & Water Watch, rBGH: How Artificial Hormones Damage the Dairy Industry and Endanger Public Health, describes how this genetically engineered artificial hormone has been linked to cancer in humans and numerous illnesses in dairy cows.

Approved in 1994 by the Food and Drug Administration, rBGH is injected into cows to make them produce more milk. Besides the documented increase of infections in dairy cows injected with rBGH, which necessitates increased use of antibiotics, there are ongoing questions about links to cancer in humans. Based on the number of dairies that use rBGH in the United States, it is possible that at least 84 million gallons of milk from rBGH-treated cows were distributed through the school nutrition programs in 2005-2006.

The "Healthy School Milk or Bust" Tour "roadies" will make their way through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota, gathering signatures for a national petition and serving rBGH-free milk and cookies along the way. They will also be distributing educational factsheets and the new report to aid citizens in taking action in their local school districts and on the national level.

"This tour is a part of a nationwide movement of students, parents and communities who want schools to have the safest food possible," said Hauter. "The most vulnerable members of our society, our children, deserve to have food that does not cause them harm."

To find out if the tour is coming to a town or city near you, please visit www.foodandwaterwatch.org/healthyschoolmilkorbust.

To view Food & Water Watch's rBGH report online, please visit www.foodandwaterwatch.org/rBGH-report.

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Food & Water Watch is a nonprofit consumer organization that works to ensure clean water and safe food. We challenge the corporate control and abuse of our food and water resources by empowering people to take action and by transforming the public consciousness about what we eat and drink.


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