I thought I should pass along this message pertaining to my previous
posting about BST. I apologize for the error in regard to milk
production. As to the issue of increased antibiotic residues, I
offer this additional information:
1. The U.S. General Accounting Office issued a report at the request of
several members of congress, addressing the thoroughness of the
investigational review of the BGH products submitted to the FDA for its
approval. I mentioned this report in my original post. It is entitled
"Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone: FDA Approval Should Be Withheld Until
the Mastitis Issue is Resolved (August '92), and it states the following:
"During our review of the studies that had been submitted to FDA for the
four rBGH products seeking approval, we noted that the treatment groups
had a consistently higher incidence of mastitis than the control groups."
"...the most comprehensive published study examining the increase in
mastitis for rBGH treated cows has shown that, for the trials conducted by
one of the sponsors in the United States and Europe, there was an increase
both in the number of cows experiencing mastitis and in the incidence of
mastitis between the control and treatment groups." (21.2 percent for the
control group, 28 percent for the treatment group)
"Looking again at the rBGH review, we did not find any guidelines that
required the evaluation of the rBGH formulations as an INDIRECT or
secondary human food safety risk; that is, as an animal drug that causes
an animal health effect (mastitis) that is treated by a chemical agent
(antibiotics) that, in turn, makes its way into the food supply. This is
a shortcoming in the FDA animal drug review approach."
"A recent GAO report has concluded that the current testing methods are
not adequate for determining the extent to which milk is contaminated by
antibiotics beyond acceptable levels. Given this conclusion and a concern
about the extent to which milk antibiotic contamination is occuring, we
believe the sponsors should determine through research whether the use of
the rBGH formulations results in increased levels of antibiotic residues
in milk. None of the research conducted for rBGH approval has addressed
2. I have come across several items in the course of my readings of
journals and newsletters as part of my job that described very close ties
between academic research and industry (industry funds much university
research), and resulting conflicts of interest/compromising of objectivity.
I do not remember all of the individual citations offhand, but an example was
the mention in the March '93 issue of the Newsletter of the Center for
Biotechnology Policy and Ethics at Texas A & M of an article in
National Boycott News, put out by the Institute for Consumer
Responsibility in Seattle. The article stated that "an
'independent' 1991 Office of Technology Assessment study was
primarily authored by Dr. Dale Baumann of Cornell, the principal
Monsanto-funded university BGH researcher."
3. I would refer anyone interested to a book recently mentioned on this list:
"The Dairy Debate: Consequences of Bovine Growth Hormone and Rotational
Grazing Technologies", which examines the issue from the perspectives of
veterinary, soil, agronomy, forage and nutrition scientists, as well as
piblic policy analysts and economists. We do not yet have a copy of this
book in our center, unfortunately. Contact: ANR Publications, University
of California, 6701 San Pablo Ave., Oakland, CA 94608-1239.
Tel:510-642-2431, FAX:510-643-5470. $31.50.
Lara Wiggert email@example.com
Technical Information Assistant voice: 301-504-5947
Biotechnology Information Center FAX: 301-504-7098
USDA National Agricultural Library
10301 Baltimore Blvd.
Beltsville, MD 20705-2351
---------- Text of forwarded message
---------- Date: Tue, 23
Nov 1993 09:39:29 -0500 (EST) From: Mark Varner <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: sanet posting on bST
My name is Mark Varner, and I am an Extension Dairy Specialist at the
University of Maryland in College Park. I tried giving you a call, but
there was no answer after about 10 rings.
You had a recent sanet posting where you attempted to present the issue
of bST adoption in an objective manner. I read it in the
alt.sustainable.agriculture newsgroup. Your posting contained an
important technical error at the end, and with your job, I thought you
might want to have this fact straight.
You say: "Annual milk production per cow has increased by several
thousand gallons over the last four decades without supplemental
BST, just as result of changes in feed and selective breeding."
I think you might have meant to say several thousand pounds. Since one
gallon of milk is a bit over 8 pounds, that means that several thousand
gallons of milk would be well over 40,000 lbs of milk. Please note that
it would take about 3 average American cows to produce 40,000 lbs of milk
in a year.
Also, please note that at least one of the items you represent as "Fact"
has assumptions that are being represented as fact, but have no data (or
facts) to support the assumptions. I'm refeering to the claim that
increased antibiotic usage for mastitis will increase antibiotic
contamination in the food supply.
Please note that I have not done research on bST, nor has any of my work
been supported by any of the various biotech companies involved with bST.
I'm just a simple educator who has the job responsiblity of trying to
make sense out of research and conducting educational programs concerning
If you have questions or comments you can contact me at my personal
e-mail address below or my office phone number.