rbGH-free cow - now with labels.

In a victory for local dairy farmers and consumers, Gov. Sebelius vetoes controversial bill that would have limited rbGH labeling on dairy products in the state.

Governor Kathleen Sebelius has vetoed legislation concerning the labels on milk products. The bill, HB 2121, faced massive opposition from dairy, consumer, health, animal welfare and environmental organizations across the country; nearly 30 of which wrote a letter to Governor Sebelius, President Obama’s pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, urging her to veto HR 2121. The bill passed by the Kansas State Legislature would have required an additional disclaimer on labels for dairy products produced from cows not treated with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rbGH or rbST), a genetically engineered, artificial hormone that induces cows to produce more milk.

The Governor’s office sent out a press release explaining why she vetoed the bill:

“…the Bill before me…provides for changes in dairy labeling that could make it more difficult to provide consumers with clear information. The milk labeling provisions negatively impact a dairy producer’s ability to inform consumers that milk is from cows not treated with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBST).”

“Supporters of the bill claim it’s necessary to protect consumers from false or misleading information. Yet there has been overwhelming opposition by consumer groups, small dairy producers and retailers to this proposed legislation. Therefore, pursuant to Article 2, Section 14 of the Constitution of the State of Kansas, I veto HB 2121.”

Due to growing consumer demand, companies are removing rbGH from their dairy products across the country. In addition, over 160 hospitals all over the country have pledged to serve rbGH-free products and the past president of the American Medical Association (AMA) said in a letter to all AMA members that hospitals should serve only milk produced without rbGH. A recent report compiled by the Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility found that more than half of the 100 largest dairy processors in the country have gone completely or partially rBGH-free due to consumer demand.