Monsanto, Stop Bullying Tiny Dairy Over Growth Hormones|
2003-08-19, 7:29 p.m.
Contributed by Working Assets
In a move of Goliath-attacking-David proportions, Monsanto,the multi-national agrichemical company, is suing a small, family-owned milk producer in Maine because they advertise that their farmers pledge not to use artificial growth hormones (also known as rBST) on the cows that produce their milk.
Oakhurst Dairy pays its suppliers a price premium not to use artificial growth hormones on their cows and they advertise this via a "Farmer's Pledge" emblem on their products. They do so in order to respond to consumer demand for dairy products produced by cows free of rBST. The dairy makes no health claim about the Farmer's Pledge, but Monsanto claims that even a factual assertion misleads consumers!
Although approved for use in the United States by the FDA, artificial growth hormones are already banned in the European Union and Canada, and Monsanto clearly fears that even informing consumers of their use will damage its sales. Monsanto's lawsuit demands that Oakhurst only be able to keep the Farmer's Pledge label if it adds information about FDA approval. Not surprisingly, Monsanto is not asking that the label include information about the European Union and Canadian bans.
Lawsuits such as these are shameless attempts to use the financial clout of a multi-billion-dollar monopolist to intimidate a tiny family-owned business. Consumers want the information being provided to them, and Monsanto should get out of the way.
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