Based in Sydney, Australia, Foundry is a blog by Rebecca Thao. Her posts explore modern architecture through photos and quotes by influential architects, engineers, and artists.

The Notorious rBGH

To the Editor:

I thought I could relax and no longer have to read all the labels on dairy products. But then I began reviewing some nutritional pages that talked about the toxicity of tofu and soy (never again) and dairy products. I learned that the milk sold at the Swarthmore Co-op and at Target was rBGH free. I also learned that each rBGH cow produces ten pounds more milk per day, and needs 10% less feed - a big profit incentive for the dairy industry. (Ten years ago they successfully lobbied Harrisburg to pass legislation — since rescinded — making it illegal to label dairy as rBGH free.)

One could argue that rBGH cows produce less methane and have a smaller carbon footprint. But only if one can tolerate looking at the grotesquely ugly enlarged udders, which would be like a human having to wear a DDDD bra. Uncomfortable? Well it is for the cow too!

To say nothing of this: In cows treated with rBGH, significant health problems often develop, including a 50% increase in the risk of lameness (leg and hoof problems), over a 25% increase in the frequency of udder infections (mastitis), and serious animal reproductive problems, such as infertility, cystic ovaries, fetal loss and birth defects. Source: Center for Food Safety.]

Reading more labels, I learned that household brands such as “Land of Lakes” and “Yoplait” and Target’s store brand yogurt, contain rBGH, whereas “Chobani”) does not. From now on, I’ll be scrupulous about reading labels on all dairy products, especially in the in-house brands that supermarkets feature. (When I checked the Greek yogurt product from Giant, it was impossible to learn who made it or where — only that it was distributed by a giant corporation.)

Caveat Emptor!

Rob Dreyfus, MD

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