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