The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

David Wallinga, MD, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, 612-423-9666
Rich Bindell, Food & Water Watch, 202-683-2457
Rick North, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, 503-968-1520
Martin Donohoe, MD, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, 503-819-6979

Groups Applaud American Public Health Association for Opposition to Hormone Use in Beef and Dairy Production


Public health and consumer groups today applauded the
decision of the American Public Health Association (APHA) to oppose the
use of growth hormones in beef and dairy production by calling for a
ban on the use of recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) in dairy
cows and a slate of growth hormones in beef cattle.

the oldest and largest association of public health professionals in
the world, representing 50,000 professionals nationwide. APHA's
resolution follows an official position statement released last year by
the American Nurses Association opposing rBGH. The past president of
the American Medical Association (AMA) last year asked all AMA members
to serve only rBGH-free milk in hospitals.

The U.S. Department
of Agriculture has estimated that over 42 percent of large dairy
operations in the United States inject their cows with rBGH, a
synthetic hormone that induces cows to produce more milk. Six steroid
hormones are in widespread use in U.S. and Canadian beef cattle to
speed weight gain.

"Americans are now awash in environmental
hormones, while the science reveals that hormone-related diseases are
on the rise," said David Wallinga, M.D., physician/director of Food and
Health at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. "The most
prudent step - and the one called for by APHA - is to reduce the
needless and risky addition of hormones to the food chain wherever

APHA's resolution asks the Food and Drug
Administration to ban the use of rBGH and growth-promoting beef
hormones, and recommends that hospitals, schools and other institutions
- especially those serving children - serve food produced without
these hormones. The resolution also supports product labeling for
consumers to make informed purchasing decisions.

"For too long,
regulators have looked the other way while industrial beef and dairy
operations use hormones recklessly," said Food & Water Watch
Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. "APHA's resolution against this
practice sends a clear signal that public health, not industry
convenience, should guide U.S. food policy."

The use of rBGH has
well-known negative impacts on the health of dairy cows. Human
consumption of dairy products produced using the hormone also may
increase the risk of certain types of cancer. Canada, Australia, New
Zealand, Japan and all 27 members of the European Union have disallowed
the use of rBGH. Codex Alimentarius, the United Nations' main food
safety body, twice determined that there was no consensus on the safety
of rBGH for human health.

It is widely acknowledged that the
use of hormones in beef production leaves hormone residues in meat,
putting consumers at risk for prolonged exposure. While European Union
authorities have never approved the use of hormones in beef production,
the U.S. government has relied on very limited and now out-of-date
research to back its claim that it is safe for producers to use growth
hormones on their animals.

"In the marketplace, consumers are
demanding meat and dairy produced without these hormones," said Martin
Donohoe, MD of Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility. "But access
to safe food should not depend on the whims of the market. It is the
government's responsibility to ensure that all consumers are protected."

The APHA resolution can be viewed at: