"At Kleinpeter Farms Dairy, we're committed to the respectful and humane treatment of our animals. All of our milk comes from cows not treated with rBGH."
--- Jeff Kleinpeter, President
Frequently Asked Questions About rBGH
Q. What is rBGH?
A. rBGH (recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone) is a genetically engineered hormone that is injected into cows to increase milk production. Most cows produce the natural Bovine Growth Hormone after giving birth. The natural hormone influences the cow to produce milk. Scientists created rBGH figuring if cows were injected with more hormones, they would produce more milk. Using recombinant DNA technology, the natural hormone was genetically recreated.
Q. What is the difference between rBGH and rBST?
A. rBGH and rBST (recombinant Bovine Somatotrophin) are the same thing. Monsanto, the manufacturer uses the brand name for the hormone, Posilac. Some proponents of rBGH might choose to use the terms rBST and Posilac instead of rBGH, because the word “hormone” is not used as part of those words.
Q. Who uses rBGH?
A. Originally, rBGH was used in low-milk producing cows. Today, however, some dairy farmers who want to increase milk production in their entire herd will inject all of their cows with rBGH.
Q.Why would Dairy Farmers want to do this?
A. Farmers are paid by the amount of milk their cows produce. Since cows injected with rBGH produce more milk, the farmers get paid more.
Q. What problems are associated with rBGH?
A. Although studies are unclear about how rBGH affects humans, some frightening facts have already been revealed. Many cows injected with rBGH have chronic cases of mastitis, the inflammation of the udder. Also, fat levels, particularly long chain saturated fatty acids associated with heart disease, are increased with the use of the manufactured hormone. rBGH milk contains high levels of Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1).
IGF-1 is resistant to pasteurization and digestion, and is absorbed through the small intestine. Whether the small additional amount of IGF-1 in milk from rBST (rBGH) treated cows has a significant local effect on the esophagus, stomach, or intestine is unknown.*
Q. How does rBGH affect the cows?
A. Cows injected with rBGH have an increased metabolism. The cows are subjected to increased levels of stress, which suppresses their immune system, making it easier for them to become sick. This hormone also increases the cows’ risk of mastitis.
Q. Why hasn’t the government banned rBGH?
A. rBGH is still used in the United States because government studies have not shown that rBGH is harmful to animals or humans. It is clearly stated on the Posilac label, however, that use of rBGH is associated with an increased frequency of use of medications in cows. A 1990 Committee on Governmental Operations charged that Food and Drug Administration studies have found no significant difference between milk from cows not treated with rBGH and milk from cows treated with rBGH. However, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, and the EU have banned the use of rBGH.
Q. Why doesn’t Kleinpeter Dairy use rBGH?
A. Our customers have said that they do not want it in their milk. So we have responded by letting you know that we do not and will not use rBGH in our cows.