February 10, 2009

Yoplait Yogurt Goes rBGH-Free

Yoplait yogurt will soon be free of artificial bovine growth hormone (rBGH), a synthetic hormone that has been linked to a number of health concerns, including breast cancer.

General Mills announced Monday that it will stop using milk produced from cows injected with rBGH (also known as rBST) in all Yoplait yogurts by August 2009.

“While the safety of milk from cows treated with rBST is not at issue, our consumers were expressing a preference for milk from cows not treated with rBST, and we responded,” Becky O’Grady, General Mills’ vice president of marketing for the Yoplait brand, said in a statement.

The hormone is already banned in Canada, Australia, Japan and the European Union. In the United States, corporations like Wal-Mart and Starbucks do not use milk from rBGH-treated cows in their products.

Breast Cancer Action launched a consumer campaign last year to encourage General Mills to follow Wal-Mart and Starbuck’s lead.

In a guest blog post at OBOB, Pauli Ojea, a community organizer at BCA, explained the connection between rBGH and breast cancer and criticized Yoplait for “pinkwashing” — a term used to describe companies that participate in breast cancer fundraising or awareness campaigns but manufacture products that may be linked to the disease.

BCA’s “Think Before You Pink” campaign warned that Yoplait’s donations to breast cancer (10 cents for every lid consumers mailed in) came from sales of yogurt made with milk from cows treated with rBGH.

“We’re delighted that General Mills has decided to do the right thing in response to consumer demand,” said Barbara Brenner, BCA executive director of Breast Cancer Action, said in a statement released today. “When a company uses the pink ribbon to sell their products, they are making a promise to support women’s health. We want them to keep that promise — and we’ll monitor the company to make sure they do.”


7 Responses to “Yoplait Yogurt Goes rBGH-Free”

  1. Charlotte Says:

    It will be interesting to see how General Mills can implement this new policy. There is no test which can determine between milk from cows treated with rBST and milk from cows that are untreated. The amount of bGH in the milk is the same and the molecular structure is the same. That is why the FDA allows cows to be treated with rBST.

    So this becomes an issue of trust. Consumers must trust that Yoplait has a way for finding non-rBST-treated cows and General Mills must trust that farmers are telling the truth when they say that they don’t use rBST. Hmmm, seems like a lot of trust . . .

  2. Lorraine Says:

    Great stuff by BCA. The comment by Charlotte though is worrisome. If there is no way to check rBST yoghurt from non-rBST yoghurt, then how will any company ever be accountable? It’s also ironic that this obsession with breasts (not only from men of course, since so many women enjoy bulging out and feeling that good dose of “no self-respect” and “no dignity”) it’s ironic that food companies out there are contributing to breast cancer as if they didn’t care that all these protrusions got cut off or not….
    The world truly needs a spiritual revolution. Humanity needs to return to moral values. There is no other way around all these problems. God is one, humanity is one, and all religions are one. End of story. Let’s get living. And behaving.

  3. Elizabeth Says:

    I’m so pleased with the consumer campaign. Its good to see the effort paid off.

  4. Aleam Says:

    I am proud that we are at a time when we can again see that our voices can be heard

  5. Emily Says:

    Great news about hormone-free yogurt! And I’m so glad that BCA was quick to respond to it and able to influence a change.

  6. BCAction Says:

    What the Cluck? Tell KFC and Susan G. Komen for the Cure to stop pinkwashing!
    With their “Buckets for the Cure” campaign, KFC and Susan G. Komen for the Cure are telling us to buy buckets of unhealthy food to cure a disease that kills women. When a company purports to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink ribboned product, but manufactures products that are linked to the disease, we call that pinkwashing. Make no mistake–every pink bucket purchase will do more to benefit KFC’s bottom line than it will to cure breast cancer. Join us in telling KFC and Susan G. Komen for the Cure to rethink this pinkwashing partnership.

  7. Ann-Elizabeth Says:

    This is amazing news and I’m happy to finally see a stop to this madness.

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