Ignorance is Profitable

December 28th, 2007

The Pa. Department of Agriculture paper decided to give in to the dairy industry and stop allowing companies that sell milk to say that their milk doesn’t contain the artificial hormone rBST. 


Evidently, the inclusion of that information for consumers infers that there might be something wrong with the hormone which, by the way, happens to be BANNED in Europe and Canada.  We can’t have something inconvenient, like labels, prejudicing consumers against foods which are synthetically adulterated in some way, shape or form.  So, no milk containers will tell you about that detail now in the state of Pa.  Therefore, consumers must either pay for organic milk, which cannot use the hormone by definition, or take their chances with regular milk.  Other states have refused the dairy industry that ‘pass’ on truth in labeling but not Pa.  The FDA similarly has ruled against labels claiming that a product doesn’t have GMO ingredients, again because someone might conclude there is something wrong with GMO foods. 

Here is the letter I sent to the paper:


Philly Inquirer article, “Hormone Labeling of Pa Milk to End” by Tom Avril (12/23/07)

To the Editor,

Science is irrelevant in this debate. In capitalism, demand is shaped via consumer purchasing choices. The rewards go to vendors of the best products while makers of inferior items go out of business. Unfortunately, trade associations are devoted to preventing American consumers from knowing the ingredients in their purchases. Product labels simply do not reflect what we are buying.

The EPA and FDA have recalled many products, years after “approving” them for sale. The granting of “approval” does not imply endorsement by those agencies. Based solely upon information supplied by industry, the absence of hazard data often means such research has not yet been conducted. Cosmetics contain thousands of poorly tested synthetic chemicals which do not appear on product labels, yet sales aren‘t even regulated by the FDA.

The European and Canadian ban on rBST, makes it a point of interest for all consumers. A wealth of information is available for our independent study. All that is necessary is to require vendors whose herds are treated with rBST, to say so on their labels. Full label disclosure of ingredients is the answer, and a requirement of true capitalism. Ignorance may or may not be “bliss”, but it is certainly profitable.

Barbara Rubin

Categories: Letters, Philadelphia Inquirer

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