Terrible Milk - We Do Now Know It For A Fact


Jan 1, 2014
Yeah, but please tell me that Monsanto is not involved and I will sleep better at night.

Can hormones that remain in milk affect human health?

Scientists at FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine have reviewed the studies submitted by the manufacturers of rbGH. FDA scientists have concluded that eating foods with slightly higher levels of rbGH would not affect human health. This is because the amount of rbGH that is in milk or milk products as a result of treatment of the animals is insignificant compared to the amount of growth hormone that is naturally produced by our bodies. Also, rbGH is a protein hormone and is digested into smaller fragments (peptides and amino acids) when eaten. The rbGH hormone used on dairy cattle is effective in promoting growth in cows, but does not work in humans. Scientists know that rbGH is not recognized as a hormone by human cells.

What do we know about growth factors in milk of treated animals?

The wholesomeness of milk is not affected by rbGH treatment. However, some subtle changes do take place in the treated animal. The growth hormone typically acts by triggering the cells to make other chemicals, called growth factors. These growth factors actually cause the increase in growth rate and milk production. Milk from rbGH-treated cattle has been found to have slightly higher levels of the naturally produced protein called insulin-dependent growth factor-1 (IGF-1). IGF-1 is a protein, and is digested into smaller pieces in the stomach.

Scientists at FDA have considered the evidence from studies of cancer risk in people who have naturally high body levels of IGF-1. Higher levels of IGF-1 in blood have been found in women with breast cancer compared to women without breast cancer in the Harvard-based Nurses' Health Study. Scientists are investigating if IGF-1 is just present at higher levels in breast cancer patients or if it has a role in increasing the risk for the disease. In laboratory studies, breast cancer cells growing on a plastic dish, grow at a faster rate when bathed in a solution containing IGF-1. However, IGF-1 also plays an important role in helping normal cells grow. Hence, from these few studies, we cannot conclude whether or not IGF-1 increases breast cancer risk.

FDA scientists have concluded that IGF-1 in milk is unlikely to present any human food safety concern for the following reasons: 1) IGF-1 levels in cow's milk from untreated animals vary in nature, depending on the number of calves and the lactation stage; 2) IGF-1 is also present in human breast milk, at levels higher than in hormone-treated cow's milk; 3) IGF-1 in milk is not expected to act as a growth factor in people who drink it because it gets digested in the stomach; 4) IGF-1 needs to be injected into the blood to have a growth-promoting effect; and 5) increased IGF-1 levels in food are not expected to result in higher blood levels of IGF-1 in humans who eat the food.
For those here at BAExpats who are not famililar with THE CORPORATION, a truly great documentary film from Canada (2004), there is a particularly scathing part of the movie that covers the subject of rbGH and milk cows. That said, I cannot recommend enough this disturbing, eye-opening movie, which remains as relevant today as it was eleven years ago.
I found the long-life milk here better than the regular "fresh" milk I drank in the US... at least it seems to give me less side effects.

In the US I would get acne and I suspect it was from the milk. Here, no issues. I drink the milk there and almost right away I break out. So last time I visited, I switched to organic milk and didn't have any issues. I only have my own anecdote to go on, but I do think regular US milk is loaded with hormones or something that can have pretty bad effects.

Now why cheese quality is so bad here (given Spanish and Italian ancestry and a pretty robust dairy industry) is still a mystery to me. :p