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Safety of Mosanto's rBGH (Bovine Growth Hormone)


dougery
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Here we go again;  I have watched or have  been in  discusions on GMO's or other science/tech influenced food or agricultural products.  I am begining to see a pattern; there are those on the side of science and they never let their jab down and say that there is nothing wrong and are so insulted by those who could be so insulting to science, it (science) could never be wrong.

So, when people start discussing things that are in our sandbox, and we begin to use our vocabulary and our tools we're wrong? I don't understand how that is.

On the other side of the coin, science is quite confrontational (and egoistic, and old-boys-clubby, and traditionalistic, and hide-bound) just like any other "honorable employment" that has a lot of education required.

Imagine what would happen if someone posted 3+3 = 5? We would get corrected, and how.

Science, especially things dealing with hormones and safety are an area of study that we really don't have a lot of data on. Sure, we can answer the question of "is it safe in acute exposures?" But, the question of what will happen with chronic exposure, we just don't have the data or the tools to study. So people project based on their experience, their assumptions, and their beliefs. When you're speaking about conjecture and faith, you'll get hard jabs from everyone. It's the same response you get when you post 3+3 = 5. Those that believe you are really passionate. Those that don't and post, are really passionate. Those that don't care, generally don't post.

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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I think something was taken out of context, I did say that for every theory there is another science with its theories to revoke what the other theory is. My point is there is more then one side to the scientific process.

It is unfortunate that ADM-Cargill-Monsanto-Dow-Shell all have millions of dollars so they can close down debate rather quickly and they have a huge budget for press release after press release about how great their products are.

That is where I get my underwear in a bunch.

I do not have personnel beefs and everyone is allowed to have an opinion and for evry theory there is also an opposing theory.

Science can prove science wrong.

Steve

Cook To Live; Live To Cook
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Stovetop:

If I read you right, you would support the following label on any product containing maize (i.e. most cereals at your health food store):

"This product contains grains that do not and have never existed in wild form. They were engineered by human beings and are therefore not natural."

I also assume that you would support the following label on organic milk: "This milk product may contain trace levels of BGH."

Yes, that is how I feel; If the producer or Corporation is so confident about their product, how would it hurt to say what is in it. In Canada food companies must list the ingredients in a product. Monsanto wants to use GMO's but they also do not want to tell the public that they are there. What are they afraid of??

I cannot understand what is so bad about labeling. In Canada; specifically BC, the usage of the word Organic in dairy and chicken took forever for that industry to be allowed to use the word organic to describe their product. Quebec was allowed to export cheese with the labeling before they even allowed a BC company to use the word organic. They used the word specialty chicken or free range. It was like three years before they allowed the usage of the word organic; that is a totally different topic, but it is related in semantics and labeling. Labeling is a complex thing here in Canada and the marketing boards have a huge interest on what is said and what the industry does.

steve

Cook To Live; Live To Cook
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Stovetop:

If I read you right, you would support the following label on any product containing maize (i.e. most cereals at your health food store):

"This product contains grains that do not and have never existed in wild form. They were engineered by human beings and are therefore not natural."

I also assume that you would support the following label on organic milk: "This milk product may contain trace levels of BGH."

Yes, that is how I feel; If the producer or Corporation is so confident about their product, how would it hurt to say what is in it. In Canada food companies must list the ingredients in a product. Monsanto wants to use GMO's but they also do not want to tell the public that they are there. What are they afraid of??

steve

I am all for it, but in fairness all milk should be labelled, "products of mutant cattle strains whose safety may or may not have been evaluated". We should do our best to inform the public and educate them in evaluating "risk vs. benefit".

I think something was taken out of context, I did say that for every theory there is  another science with its theories to revoke what the other theory is. My point is there is more then one side to the scientific process.

Yes, but not all theories are equal and there is a huge difference between possible and probable. I think Organic milk is reasonably safe but it wouldn't surprise me if it turned out to be more of a health risk than the rBGH milk. As slkinsey said above, I will choose organic milk if it tastes better or if I think there is some moral reason, but not out of unsubstantiated fear.

he study may or may not be a good one, but this statement is more than a little condescending and more than a little inaccurate. I have been involved in the world of science and scientific studies since 1977. My undergraduate major was in molecular genetics and I have been involved in laboratory and clinical studies over the years including having  published and cited work.

Then I would think you would know enough to actually look up the paper read it as well as all the studies it cites before you decide that it is worthless. If you were a professional scientist such as myself you would have a much deeper understanding of these matters.

Would I trust Monsanto to evaluate there own products safety? Of course not. Am I impressed by that Science paper? Very much so, and until I see evidence to the contary I will consider rBGH safe.

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he study may or may not be a good one, but this statement is more than a little condescending and more than a little inaccurate. I have been involved in the world of science and scientific studies since 1977. My undergraduate major was in molecular genetics and I have been involved in laboratory and clinical studies over the years including having  published and cited work.

Then I would think you would know enough to actually look up the paper read it as well as all the studies it cites before you decide that it is worthless. If you were a professional scientist such as myself you would have a much deeper understanding of these matters.

I never said the paper was worthless. It is a good paper and appears to be a good study. Nevertheless many "good studies" in "reputable journals", even journals such as Science have later on been shown to be problematic. Whether this one will or not remains to be determined. Your assessment that this is valid and you feel comfortable with it is certainly your right. Once again, however, you should beware of making condescending remarks. You know nothing about me or next to nothing and your statement about what you think my level of understanding is is an ad hominem remark that I take exception to. I will not engage in a flame war with you or attack your qualifications of which I know nothing more than what you claim. However, a scientist knows that what is today's fact is often tomorrow's falacy. I am not saying that the study is wrong, but I do remain skeptical of it, Monsanto and the industry in general. I also remain very skeptical of the business of science. We all know that numbers can be used in many different ways to support arguments and scientific studies can be and are often manipulated toward a desired result. I fear that this is especially the case in industrial science in which scientists' livelihoods rest on the backs of their industrial supporters. I am not saying that the scientists are fudging data or corrupt. I am saying that it is easy to manipulate data and results to prove a point and that it is easy to withhold data that does not support a point. Whether that is the case with this topic or not I can not say, however, the possibility of it is one reason I remain skeptical of it. Skepticism is a trait that any reputable scientist should have.

Would I trust Monsanto to evaluate there own products safety? Of course not. Am I impressed by that Science paper? Very much so, and until I see evidence to the contary I will consider rBGH safe.

The major argument I have been making doesn't even concern the question of direct effects on human health. I am more concerned about the indirect effects on health and the environment based upon needs for increased or persistent need for antibiotic coverage and the potential for development of resistance, etc. I certainly don't trust Monsanto to evaluate that properly. There is certainly the potential with any new technology to have many hidden risks and costs. Some technologies, including many potential uses for recombinant genetics have potential benefits that are readily apparent and worth taking some degree of risk for. I still fail to see that for this technology, even if I were to accept that the potential for direct effect on human health is minimal.

Edited by docsconz (log)

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

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ever said the paper was worthless. It is a good paper and appears to be a good study. Nevertheless many "good studies" in "reputable journals", even journals such as Science have later on been shown to be problematic. Whether this one will or not remains to be determined. Your assessment that this is valid and you feel comfortable with it is certainly your right. Once again, however, you should beware of making condescending remarks. You know nothing about me or next to nothing and your statement about what you think my level of understanding is is an ad hominem remark that I take exception to.

So your view is that one opinion is as good as another? Why is my opinion of equal or lesser weight than that of someone who has not even read the paper in question? This doesn't seem logical to me.

Please point out the flaws in the studies cited in the Science paper if you are going to make a case for rBGH milk being more risky than organic milk. Pointing out that something is possible (unforseen flaws that the researchers and expert reviews failed to see, or giant conspiracy), does not make for a strong argument without some evidence that these things are actually occuring.

Seriously, if you understood the rigors of the review process at Science, you would not be so quick to discount the paper sight unseen. I think you also fail to understand how much a rival scientific group would desire to discount the study in question and publish a paper or at least a letter in Science showing that the eariler reports were wrong!

The major argument I have been making doesn't even concern the question of direct effects on human health. I am more concerned about the indirect effects on health and the environment based upon needs for increased or persistent need for antibiotic coverage and the potential for development of resistance, etc. I certainly don't trust Monsanto to evaluate that properly. There is certainly the potential with any new technology to have many hidden risks and costs. Some technologies, including many potential uses for recombinant genetics have potential benefits that are readily apparent and worth taking some degree of risk for. I still fail to see that for this technology, even if I were to accept that the potential for direct effect on human health is minimal.

I don't think you have a good feel for relative risk. Why is a product which has been thoroughly tested more risky than Organic milk from untested sources? Shouldn't we be carefully evaluating the various mutant cattle that are producing milk?

Maybe consuming milk period is risky and we should evaluate the risk versus benefit of milk consumption.

I believe your arguments, like most of the organic proponents, are based on faith rather than reason. That is fine, but don't pretend that they are based on logic.

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How can something that degrades the health of the cows (increased lameness, increased mastitis, increased reproductive problems, lowered condition, lowered life expectancy) at such a low benefit (10% increased production) be seen as worthwhile? I don't understand, especially with the lowered life expectancy...your cow is going to die approximately two years earlier, but, by gum, you'll get more milk out of her while she's here.

Even if there is no health risk to humans, how is it worth the cost?

I'm far from being a tree-hugger, vegan, or anything comparable, but I can't justify contributing to the sum total of misery in the world, even if "only" bovine misery, simply to enrich Monsanto Corporation and a few dairy farmers.

Is that a faith-based belief? or a bit of humility and the thought that simply because Science can, doesn't mean that Science ought?

I suppose you are arguing apples, R Washburn, and I am arguing emotional oranges...

Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

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Even if there is no health risk to humans, how is it worth the cost?

Sheer speculation, but the carcass quality of the cow might also be better at that two-year shorter date. This would also help offset things.

There are many wholly-owned chains, e.g. Braums, that own the cows, and the stores and sell the meat from the cows in the stores. "Value-added" I think is the concept.

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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Even if there is no health risk to humans, how is it worth the cost?

Sheer speculation, but the carcass quality of the cow might also be better at that two-year shorter date. This would also help offset things.

There are many wholly-owned chains, e.g. Braums, that own the cows, and the stores and sell the meat from the cows in the stores. "Value-added" I think is the concept.

Ah, yes, watch me continually expose my ignorance of the whole agri-business...:hmmm:

It's really not appetizing, is it? although presumably knowing the meat is used is better than thinking it isn't. It just feels so calculating and profit-driven, to me. :sad:

Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

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Even if there is no health risk to humans, how is it worth the cost?

Sheer speculation, but the carcass quality of the cow might also be better at that two-year shorter date. This would also help offset things.

There are many wholly-owned chains, e.g. Braums, that own the cows, and the stores and sell the meat from the cows in the stores. "Value-added" I think is the concept.

Ah, yes, watch me continually expose my ignorance of the whole agri-business...:hmmm:

It's really not appetizing, is it? although presumably knowing the meat is used is better than thinking it isn't. It just feels so calculating and profit-driven, to me. :sad:

I don't mind the profit driven aspect of this so long as it is done responsibly and I have the ability to vote with my wallet.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Even if there is no health risk to humans, how is it worth the cost?

Sheer speculation, but the carcass quality of the cow might also be better at that two-year shorter date. This would also help offset things.

There are many wholly-owned chains, e.g. Braums, that own the cows, and the stores and sell the meat from the cows in the stores. "Value-added" I think is the concept.

Ah, yes, watch me continually expose my ignorance of the whole agri-business...:hmmm:

It's really not appetizing, is it? although presumably knowing the meat is used is better than thinking it isn't. It just feels so calculating and profit-driven, to me. :sad:

I agree, Deborah. It's sickening to think what is happening, healthwise, to these cows in the name of corporate greed. The most "logical" argument isn't necessarily the best "moral" argument. In this case I say screw "logic."

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How can something that degrades the health of the cows (increased lameness, increased mastitis, increased reproductive problems, lowered condition, lowered life expectancy) at such a low benefit (10% increased production) be seen as worthwhile? I don't understand, especially with the lowered life expectancy...your cow is going to die approximately two years earlier, but, by gum, you'll get more milk out of her while she's here.

Even if there is no health risk to humans, how is it worth the cost?

I'm far from being a tree-hugger, vegan, or anything comparable, but I can't justify contributing to the sum total of misery in the world, even if "only" bovine misery, simply to enrich Monsanto Corporation and a few dairy farmers.

Is that a faith-based belief? or a bit of humility and the thought that simply because Science can, doesn't mean that Science ought?

I suppose you are arguing apples, R Washburn, and I am arguing emotional oranges...

Those are valid reasons to go "organic" if there are differences in the quality of life for the animals or the worker. Tasting better is also an excellent reason. Claiming unsubtantiated health risks for consumers of a product are not.

Most scientists are in the "tree hugger" camp, but they still want to see logical reasons for doing or not doing things. A gut feeling that something is "unnatural" is not enough for us, partially because we have a better understanding of the difference between unnatural and unfamiliar. Basically all of our agricultural products are unnatural, but consumers are not afraid of that which they are familiar with.

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The problem with the Science article is that it doesn't really address the issue. rBGH, the chemical, is not harmful to humans in the short term. There have been no long term studies of this chemical. Why I don't want it in my food is because of what it does to the cows. The cows become stressed and consequently need more antibiotics and feed. It has been rumoured that the the drive to provide more protein rich foods for these rBGH cows has driven the need to use questionable food products, which in term has led to an increase in mad cow disease. Since the true scientific study, that is long term and checking secondary aspects have not been done, I opt to not have it in my diet.

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The problem with the Science article is that it doesn't really address the issue. rBGH, the chemical, is not harmful to humans in the short term. There have been no long term studies of this chemical. Why I don't want it in my food is because of what it does to the cows. The cows become stressed and consequently need more antibiotics and feed. It has been rumoured that the the drive to provide more protein rich foods for these rBGH cows has driven the need to use questionable food products, which in term has led to an increase in mad cow disease. Since the true scientific study, that is long term and checking secondary aspects have not been done, I opt to not have it in my diet.

Read the article. It reviews all the scientific data at the time of publication (1990). Also realize that negative results are not normally published. Your proposed longer term study would only be published if it revealed a safety risk. You can correctly assume that no data in the ensuing 15 years has appeared contradicting their conclusions. How much time do you need to be reassured? Why is your standard the "true" scientific standard rather than that of the reviewers and editors of "Science"?

There have been some scientifically very risky animal husbandry techniques used, such as feeding animal byproducts to farm animals, that I would reject on a purely theoretical basis, but I don't see any problem with rBGH. That doesn't mean it is completely safe, but at least it has been rigorously tested and there is no obvious theoretical flaw in using it.

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Well, BGH is something that occurs "naturally" in every cow.  So, you're skeptical of milk in general, or cows?  I assume that what you really mean to say is that you're skeptical of cows with heightened amounts of BGH.  Fine.  I assume that you're skeptical of dairy cattle in general (as opposed to cattle raised for beef...dairy cattle have been bred for milk production which inevitably means that they have heightened levels of BGH and have been so for centuries). 

The benefit of BGH is increased milk production -- which means lower prices.  You haven't actually identified any of the risks that you see.

Perhaps I am in the minority, but even if rBGH naturally occurs in cows, that does not mean that genetically reengineering it and injecting it back into cows is natural (which is, in fact, what they do). My body naturally produces insulin too, but would giving myself extra large doses of it be "natural"? Natural can still hurt you (whether it does or not is obviously still open to debate).

Edited by mikeycook (log)

"If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony."

~ Fernand Point

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Perhaps I am in the minority, but even if rBGH naturally occurs in cows, that does not mean that genetically reengineering it and injecting it back into cows is natural (which is, in fact, what they do).  My body naturally produces insulin too, but would giving myself extra large doses of it be "natural"?  Natural can still hurt you (whether it does or not is obviously still open to debate).

"r" in rBGH refers to recombinant

Read again what Nathan stated. Dairy cows are mutants that were selected for their high milk yield which may or may not be derived from high BGH levels. None of these animals are natural nor does natrual=safe. In fact unnatural may be safer because there is no natural evolutionary pressure to make these animals safer to eat; in fact the opposite is true. Animals becoming more noxious and poisonous is more natural than the opposite.

Edited by R Washburn (log)
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I presume that you also reject cattle bred for higher milk production (i.e. having higher levels of bgh -- (that pkeibel calls it a chemical shows an astounding level of ignorance)) as being unnatural and therefore you never use dairy products?

Do you eat grains, use soybeans, eat tomatoes? What, pray tell, is your arbitrary line between "natural" and "unnatural" - I would venture to assert that it's almost certainly the following: "If the practice has been engaged in for at least 50 years it's natural, if it was developed in the last 50 years -- it is unnatural."

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I embrace all forms of cattle and drink both organic and non-organic milk.

However, I do not assume that Monsanto is trying to make my milk healthier for me. They are trying to make it cheaper (for their profit not my pleasure) by any legal means possible. Polisac was developed to make milk cheaper for Monsanto to produce. In order to get the drug approved, a 90-day rat trial was conducted by Monsanto which the FDA reviewed (i.e. the FDA approved based off a Monsanto report, not their own research). Health Canada, which also reviewed the report "argues that possible adverse health effects of Posilac were not addressed because long term toxicology studies to ascertain human health safety were not required by FDA or conducted by Monsanto."

In regards to concerns that milk from rBGH led to an increase in breast cancer, the FDA report says "FDA has examined the literature and finds no definitive evidence of any direct link between IGF-I and breast cancer. Some authors have hypothesized a link, whereas others have expressed that while IGF-I is one of several growth factors and hormones that can contribute to an increase in cell numbers of many cell types invitro, no one factor is responsible for changing normal cells into cancerous cells. "

So, essentially, they are saying that Polisac is not causative, but then again no one thing is. Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

Also, while I generally respect the work done by the FDA, the fact that HealthCanada and the European Union feel differently is something of a concern. While those organizations have their problems, I would assume they are run by the same type of "tree-hugging" scientists that work for the FDA, who I assume are trying to do their best work to assess public health issues as well.

As I say, I will continue to use genetically and chemically enhanced food, but I think it is silly to dismiss the concerns of some others based on this research.

"If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony."

~ Fernand Point

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I would like to put this all into context and go back in time; post world war two, DDT, the new panacea for Dow, it was going to work wonders for the farmers. Years back I was at a third world film festival in Edmonton, Alberta; I saw this film about the Corporation subsidizing south American and third world countries to use DDT in farming. They gave the Gov de jour money, which in turn they (GOV) forced the peasant farmers at gun point to use DDT. It is safe they said, but the farmers saw the side effects and refused to use it, but when you have a gun against your head, what do you think they did. Also the funniest usage I saw in that film was fisherman using DDT to fish, they would pour into the water and the fish would float to the top and presto you got fish :wacko:

Farmers since the 50's have been directed to become Addicts, not much different then the crack heads on Hastings in Vancouver, the difference is the land is addictive to the chemicals. The soil has become so depleted that the soil needs fertilizer, then they (farmer) need seeds cause they do not have them any more or the Company will not allow them to use their own seeds, also because they went out and bought lots (take out a loan) of equipment to do that intense farming, all one crop year after year.

Now they have to keep this high intensive farming going and the commodity prices are so low, that it is better and they would make more money not planting.

Yes that is what you are doing down south is it not??

In Canada the farmers are going bankrupt, without them, science will have no one to grow the food. Who will do it??

Lastly; since chemical farming was introduced in post war times there are statistics to show it did not increase yield, it did not help with pests and the overall performance of the agricultural sector is in the hands now of about four companies in the world. I want to know who’s science is going to argue for humanity how is this better for the human race.

No GMO'S are going to get us out of this hole that DOW, Monsanto, cargill, and the rest of the human corporations got us into this mess.

We have to go back to less intensive farming one that is fewer dependants on oil and bring back genetic diversity and use science in a way that will benefit all of humanity rather than a few shareholders. I think we have to make farming sustainable and more regional; organic is lost in space, also most organic is now owned by the Corporations, so much for the hippies. Scratch the surface and there are big Corporations.

The main thing for me in this discussion is that rBGH production in Canada is really not needed and the same goes for the US, we have a over supply of milk in the world and also less companies who control the liquid milk supply so in a economic sense and a micro and macro economic sense how does this benefit the world???

Steve

Cook To Live; Live To Cook
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ever said the paper was worthless. It is a good paper and appears to be a good study. Nevertheless many "good studies" in "reputable journals", even journals such as Science have later on been shown to be problematic. Whether this one will or not remains to be determined. Your assessment that this is valid and you feel comfortable with it is certainly your right. Once again, however, you should beware of making condescending remarks. You know nothing about me or next to nothing and your statement about what you think my level of understanding is is an ad hominem remark that I take exception to.

So your view is that one opinion is as good as another? Why is my opinion of equal or lesser weight than that of someone who has not even read the paper in question? This doesn't seem logical to me.

Where and how do you draw this conclusion? I never said or implied that your opinion was not good. I have simply been trying to address the points, not the person. It is your total assumption that your opinion is necessarily more valid than mine or others who disagree with you as evidenced by your condescending and unnecessary and flawed statement,

If you were a professional scientist such as myself you would have a much deeper understanding of these matters.
Please point out the flaws in the studies cited in the Science paper if you are going to make a case for rBGH milk being more risky than organic milk.  Pointing out that something is possible (unforseen flaws that the researchers and expert reviews failed to see, or giant conspiracy), does not make for a strong argument without some evidence that these things are actually occuring.

Do you deny that development of antibiotic resistance is a major problem? It is neither unforeseen nor hypothetical. It does occur and is a major health problem, just ask those people needing treatment for antibiotic resistant tuberculosis amongst other entities. Over and unnecessary use of antibiotics is a huge problem. Anything that encourages that with the unnecessary need for additional antibiotic use is part of that problem. This issue appears to fit the bill.

I don't believe it is a conspiracy either. I never accused anyone of conspiracy. I just don't think that Monsanto's motives necessarily intertwine with what may be in the longterm best interest of the Earth and its inhabitants. I have admitted that the direct health effects of rBGH may not be significant for humans, although I still remain skeptical even if the scientific methods are flawless. I have seen too many instances in very respected journals where even years later, dogma has ultimately been refuted. You keep making the argument against organic milk as if I am arguing for it. My point is that I am skeptical of rBGH supplementation to dairy cattle and all that goes with it. I have not taken the affirmative response for the so called "organic" product. There is a difference.

Seriously, if you understood the rigors of the review process at Science, you would not be so quick to discount the paper sight unseen.  I think you also fail to understand how much a rival scientific group would desire to discount the study in question and publish a paper or at least a letter in Science showing that the eariler reports were wrong!
I still think that this would be a daunting study to do without the assistance of Monsanto and I doubt that they would give it willingly as they don't have anything to gain from it and potentially a lot to lose. My concerns about the product remain, however, even if I concede that it is likely to be safe as far as direct human health effects on humans ingesting the milk derived from animals to whom it has been applied- see below.
The major argument I have been making doesn't even concern the question of direct effects on human health. I am more concerned about the indirect effects on health and the environment based upon needs for increased or persistent need for antibiotic coverage and the potential for development of resistance, etc. I certainly don't trust Monsanto to evaluate that properly. There is certainly the potential with any new technology to have many hidden risks and costs. Some technologies, including many potential uses for recombinant genetics have potential benefits that are readily apparent and worth taking some degree of risk for. I still fail to see that for this technology, even if I were to accept that the potential for direct effect on human health is minimal.

I don't think you have a good feel for relative risk.
Based on what? I deal with relative risk everyday. You have given no evidence to support this ad hominem statement.
  Why is a product which has been thoroughly tested more risky than Organic milk from untested sources?  Shouldn't we be carefully evaluating the various mutant cattle that are producing milk?
This is not and has not been my argument.
Maybe consuming milk period is risky and we should evaluate the risk versus benefit of milk consumption.
Maybe it is risky, however, for many people who enjoy milk, there is also a defined benefit. There may be risk to raw milk cheeses. I feel that the cheeses are often sufficiently superior and my pleasure sufficiently great that I am generally willing to take that risk.
I believe your arguments, like most of the organic proponents, are based on faith rather than reason.  That is fine, but don't pretend that they are based on logic.

Believe what you will. I have tried to counter your arguments with logic, but have been faced with a lot of ad hominem assumptions. I will not address this issue further with you if you continue to make those assumptions. Although I am not absolutely convinced that the potential for direct health effects are inconsequential, the possibility that they are not is not the crux of my argument. I am personally more concerned about wider issues that are not reflected in the Science article. If you wish to address the ideas directly or the issues I would be very happy to continue this discussion, however, if you continue to simply claim that you are a scientist and thererfore know better on that basis than count me out.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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steve,

Am I correct in reading you as denying the entire "Green Revolution"? In other words, the end of famine, the sharp decline in malnutrition, the extraordinary promise of "golden rice" for millions, etc, never happened? Is that what you're claiming?

As for DDT, are you aware that 2 million people have died from malaria since DDT was essentially banned worldwide? (With the best of intentions, the environmental movement has quite a bit of blood on its hands.)

Are minor activist movies the most reliable sources of scientific information?

If you were not asserting any of the above, then maybe I failed to understand your post.

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Nathan, this is an interesting and provocative post. The "Green Revolution" has certainly promised a lot, but has it really delivered? If it has so far resulted in increased production of some crops in some places (yes, I know that there have been increased yields with various crops around the world), will those increases be sustainable over the long haul and at what price? I ask this in all sincerity as I believe that this is really the essential question. As for DDT and malaria, that is but one component of a larger question as to the overall effect. I do not purport to have all the answers, just a large dose of skepticism regarding promises not being kept and unexpected problems developing. I would be curious to see your information.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I found a copy of the August 24th, 1990 issue of Science and read Juskevich and Guyer's "Bovine growth hormone; Human food safety evaluation".  They conclude that no rbGH can make it into the blood stream from an oral dose.  They also looked at the possibility that milk from rbGH treated cows could have deleterious effects from the increased levels of IGF-1 (insulin growth factor) in the milk and concluded that "biologically significant amounts of IGF-1 would not be absorbed".

There are papers published in recent years who show in animal studies that increased levels of IGF-1 might be associated with higher risk for certain cancers. (I can look for the citations if there is interest) Also the point that "They conclude that no rbGH can make it into the blood stream from an oral dose." is very controversial and most likely wrong. Their methods in 1990 were simply not good enough to detect those levels even so such levels have an effect on IGF-1 levels. Nobody in the scientific literature is concerned about rbGH and its direct effect on humans but on the indirect effect of rbGH on IGF-1 and and its effect on humans.

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Imagine what would happen if someone posted 3+3 = 5?  We would get corrected, and how. 

Thats silly... Everyone knows that .it's 2 + 2 = 5 :laugh:.

Seriously though humans are notorious for grossly overestimating the likleyhood and severity of rare errors while grossly underestimating the severity and likelyhood of common errors. Which is why more people have a fear of flying than a fear of driving, even though the drive to the airport is more dangerous than your plane trip.

Even if the risks of BGH were real, the fact that it's taken so long to pick them up must mean they are incredibly subtle. Hardly something worth worrying about while other, very real and significant risks are ignored.

PS: I am a guy.

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