Consumers Unfazed by Bst Debate, Poll Says
Robert Steyer Of the Post-Dispatch, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
Consumers' attitudes toward milk have hardly changed since Monsanto Co. got approval to sell a drug that raises cows' milk production, says a Gallup Organization poll released Thursday.
"All the marketing and tracking data we have seen indicate essentially the same thing," said James Barr, chief executive of the National Milk Producers Federation. "Reports of the demise of the dairy industry have been greatly exaggerated."
Barr's group and the International Dairy Foods Association publicized the survey. It was commissioned by the National Dairy Board, the promotional arm of the dairy industry.
Barr said the survey disproves critics' assertions that Monsanto's drug - best known as BST or BGH - would scare away consumers.
The drug, injected into cows, increases milk production up to 20 percent. It was approved by the Food and Drug Administration on Nov. 5, 1993. It went on sale Feb. 4.
Critics say BST was inadequately tested for its impact on humans.
But BST supporters note that the FDA, National Institutes of Health and American Medical Association say BST is safe and that milk and meat from BST-injected cows is safe for humans.
The two trade organizations releasing the Gallup data say they are neutral on BST. But both have lobbied for tough federal rules on labeling dairy products that exclude milk from BST-treated cows. Both have criticized the principal critics of BST. …