I am concerned about the use of recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) in your dairy products. While I applaud your pledge to make 37% of your milk supply free of artificial growth hormones by the end of January 2007, I believe you can do better. As the largest coffee specialty retailer in the world, you are well positioned to require rBGH-free dairy for 100% of your products.
Specifically, I am concerned that the use of rBGH may lead to more antibiotic-resistant bacteria. When cows are injected with rBGH, it increases their likelihood of contracting painful udder infections, which are treated with common antibiotics. Overuse of antibiotics in agriculture is a serious concern of numerous health organizations, such as the American Public Health Association, because it creates antibiotic resistant bacteria.
Another major concern I have with Starbucks� use of rBGH is that there are potential cancer risks from this genetically engineered hormone. rBGH increases another hormone in cows and cows� milk, called IGF-1. In numerous studies, too much IGF-1 is associated with higher rates of breast, prostate, colon, and lung cancer in humans.
The reality is that recombinant bovine growth hormone offers no consumer benefit. Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and the entire European Union have banned rBGH. So why should your customers have to take this unnecessary risk?
In the past several years, many dairies and companies alike have responded to consumer concerns and decided to go rBGH-free. As the industry leader, Starbucks has unique buying power. Your company can and should require all of your dairy suppliers to ban recombinant bovine growth hormone. Your customers deserve nothing less.
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