Federal Agencies Advised of Misleading Milk Labels and Advertising

More than 500 interested parties join Monsanto to ask FDA and FTC to focus

on companies that use deceptive milk labels and ads

Apr 03, 2007, 01:00 ET from Monsanto Company

    ST. LOUIS, April 3 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Monsanto Company (NYSE:  
 MON) announced today that letters from more than 500 concerned individuals
 and Monsanto have been submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
 (FDA) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requesting action to stop
 deceptive milk labeling and advertising. The two letters outline how
 certain milk labels and promotions that differentiate milk based on farmer
 use of POSILAC bovine somatotropin (bST) are misleading to consumers and do
 not meet the standards set by laws and regulations for either the Federal
 Trade Commission or the Food and Drug Administration.
     "The people who signed these letters are dairy producers, industry
 professionals and consumers from across the country who have expressed
 concerns about specific labels they find to be false or misleading," said
 Kevin Holloway, president of Monsanto Dairy Business. "In many cases, they
 came to Monsanto to find out what could be done about milk marketing
 tactics that disparage milk and deny farmers a choice in using approved
 technologies. We believe FDA and FTC are the correct agencies to address
 the matter with the companies who employ misleading labels or promotions."
     The letter to the FDA highlights deceptive milk labels and calls for
 clear guidance and enforcement by FDA to address labeling that disparages
 milk from cows supplemented with POSILAC. The letter to the FTC outlines
 deceptive advertising and milk promotions that mislead consumers and
 requests FTC begin an investigation into the challenged practices. Specific
 examples of misleading labels and ads are cited and attached to the
 letters. Letters and attachments are available at
     Monsanto submitted the first set of signed letters on behalf of all who
 signed them in February and continues to compile additional letters as
 dairy producers and others sign them.
     "This is of great concern to dairy producers," said Dennis Areias, a
 Los Banos, Calif., dairy producer who signed the letters. "Deceptive labels
 suggest to consumers that there is something wrong with the milk they have
 been drinking for the past 13 years. Even though the companies that print
 these labels know this is not true, they choose to mislead consumers in an
 effort to charge more money for the same milk."
     FDA conducted a thorough review of POSILAC before approving the product
 in 1993 and determined milk from supplemented cows to be the same as milk
 from non-supplemented cows.
     In a recent study, lab analysis of 95 different brands of retail milk
 purchased in 48 states confirmed all milk naturally contains the same
 hormones. There was no difference in hormone content of retail milk based
 on label claims regarding the use of POSILAC. The findings of the study,
 conducted by Monsanto with third-party testing facilities and an
 independent auditing firm, reinforce that milk marketing claims
 differentiating milk based on the use of POSILAC are meaningless.
     "Deceptive labels and ads are not only damaging to dairy producers who
 are forced to give up technology that helps them make a living, they hurt
 consumers" said John Vrieze, an Emerald, Wisc., dairy producer who also
 signed the letters to the FDA and FTC. "The misleading language clearly
 aims to scare people into paying more for the same milk. These ill-gotten
 gains are not shared with farmers and shame on us if we would seek to
 profit by disparaging the image of milk that we have invested heavily in
 promoting as a safe, healthy product."
     POSILAC is an FDA-approved supplement used by U.S. dairy farmers to
 increase productivity. Since it was first sold in 1994, POSILAC has become
 one of the leading dairy animal supplements in the United States.
 Supplementing dairy cows with POSILAC safely enhances milk production and
 serves as an important tool to help farmers with herds of all sizes produce
 more milk per cow. Cows supplemented with POSILAC produce an average of 10
 lb. more milk per day.
     Monsanto Company is a leading provider of technology-based solutions
 and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality.
 For more information on Monsanto and POSILAC, see www.monsanto.com.
     Note to editors: POSILAC is a registered trademark owned by Monsanto
 Company and its wholly owned subsidiaries.

SOURCE Monsanto Company