December 7, 2011 by Carrie Mess
I love a good marketing idea. My background is in marketing. Sometimes in the shower I still come up with brilliant marketing ideas while I shampoo. As much as I love a good marketing idea, I hate bad marketing. The kind of marketing that assumes the person buying the product is an idiot. The kind of marketing that takes the obvious, say some bananas and adds #BSLabels like boneless to them. Now honestly I don’t think this sign is “real”. I suspect that someone with a sense of humor printed it out to bring a smile to the face of shoppers. At least I really, really hope that is the case. While some of these labels may be more on the fun side there are plenty that mislead consumers by saying they don’t have such and such current buzz word, or that they do have such and such buzzword. “No High Fructose Corn Syrup” on Peanut Butter, when none of the other peanut butters contain HFCS. What about one brand of cereal claiming to be in a recyclable box sitting on the self next to 100′s of all recyclable boxes? Of course being who I am the #BSlabel that gets me ticked off the most is milk labeled as “Hormone Free”.
So what part of “Hormone Free” makes me call BS? All of it. No milk is hormone free, milk is a bodily secretion controlled by hormones. That’s how our bodies work, that’s how a cows body works. I googled “Hormone free milk” today and saw pages and pages of information, blog posts and general confusion about what hormones in milk meant. One thing I didn’t see was information from dairy farmers on what hormones in milk means to them. So here is my attempt to clear up some misconception and misinformation on milk hormones.
Organic milk doesn’t have hormones in it….
Organic, conventional, goat, sheep, cow or human breast milk, it doesn’t matter, all milk has hormones in it.
But Organic milk is tested for additional hormones….
There is no way to test for hormones in milk, any milk, because all milk has hormones in it.
You can test milk for rBST ….
First of all, rBST is a synthetic hormone that some farmers use to help in milk production. You cannot test milk for rBST because the synthetic version of the hormone is close enough to the natural hormone that it is undetectable.
So how do I know if dairy farmers are using rBST?
If you are buying milk that is labeled as rBST free it means that the farmers that send their milk to that milk company have all signed contracts that say they will not use rBST on their cows.
So why do dairy farmers use rBST?
I will answer this from my own experience and perspective. Farmers use rBST for a few different reasons. When a cow calves she starts to produce milk. Her milk production naturally will peak at around 90 days in milk and then will trail off over the next few months. By using rBST dairy farmers can help hold off the decline for a little while. Some farmers use it on their whole herd. Some farmers use it on individual cases. Take Norma, The Best Cow Ever (the one on my blog header) she is a fantastic cow and I love her more than it’s normal to love a cow. She calved last time back in March. If things went the way they should she would have got pregnant again in June, and calved again in March. However instead of things working out as they should, Norma didn’t get pregnant on her first breeding in June, she did get pregnant on the second breeding in July but then we had a long streak of hot weather and she lost her calf and got a uterine infection. After we got that cleared up we bred her again, this time she had a case of mastitis and didn’t get pregnant. Long story short she just now is finally pregnant. With all of this going on I faced a choice. Do I do nothing and let Norma go down on milk production to the point that it is costing me money each day to keep her as a pet? Do I use rBST to keep her milking and a productive member of the herd? Or do I sell her to slaughter when she reaches the point of costing money to keep around. I chose to use rBST. I chose to do this because these are the choices we have to make for all of our cows, regardless of pet status or not.
If you love Norma so much why don’t you marry her?
I love my husband and that’s illegal in this state.
I want to know more about rBST….
Check out this website or ask me a qustion in the comments section. If I don’t know the answer I will connect you with someone who can answer.