Bovine Somatotropin and Recombinant Bovine Growth Essay

Submitted By Meena_Mae
Words: 1492
Pages: 6

Monsanto is a company that specializes in production of agricultural/vegetable seeds, plant biotechnology and crop protection chemicals. Monsanto headquarters is located in St. Louis, Missouri, but operates internationally as well with 21,035 employees globally with 404 facilities in 66 countries. In the United States alone it employs 10,317 146 with facilities in 33 states.[1]So you can see how much of an impact a company of this size can have on the food we grow, produce and consume. It is imperative that any company be held accountable when they’re business practices don’t measure up; especially one with a massive hold on the market. Monsanto is well-known to genetically modify their seeds and crops, create growth hormones forced on cattle; in addition suing the farmers over patent infringement. These are reasons Monsanto is an unethical company.

Monsanto is the company that produces recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), which a number of farms that have mass milk production currently inject into their cows. Bovine Somatotropin (BST or rBGH) triggers a metabolic response to increase growth in young cattle and lactation in dairy cows. According to the FDA’s Safety Assessment of Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone, in 1998, when injected into cows, rBGH increases milk production 10-15 percent and in some cases up to 40 percent. Approximately 17% of all cows in the US are given the artificial growth hormone.If this is what it does in other mammals, then who’s to say that it’s perfectly safe for human consumption? One would conclude that they’ve researched and tested their product multiple times before tainting the market with an ill tested product. However that’s farther from the truth. If a company produces a product that is allowed to be placed on the market without proper research and experimentation then we’ve done the founding fathers of modern science no justice and that’s highly unethical; mainly because they negate the proper measurements in reassuring the safety in their product without supporting evidence.

In 1993, the product was first approved after the FDA relied solely on one study administered by Monsanto in which rBGH was tested for 90 days on 30 rats. The study was never published, and the FDA stated the results showed no significant problems. (Hansen) This growth hormone was assessed by Health Canada and determined Monsanto’s results of their 90-day study showed concern and reasons for review before approval of rBGHin 1998. (Halloran) Today, the European Union, Japan, Australia and Canada have all banned the use of rBGH due to animal and human health concerns.[2] If several countries, including the entire European Union can see that this product may not be safe, then why doesn’t the FDA? That’s another conspiracy theory all its own, but it does raise additional questions about the ethical procedures of the FDA as well.

One questionable dilemma is that if human IGF-1 (Insulin Growth Factor-1) levels increase cancerous side effects could quite possibly occur, “Milk from rBGH-treated cows contains higher levels of IGF-1. Humans also naturally have IGF-1, and increased levels in humans have been linked to colon and breast cancer. Even though no direct connection has been made between elevated IGF-1 levels in milk and elevated IGF-1 levels or cancer in humans, some scientists have expressed concern over the possibility of this relationship”. Based on those things I cannot fathom why that product is still on the American market, but I can see that it isn’t ethical to place a product that is directly being consumed by humans, on the market without proper guidelines set and followed. It wasn’t until recently that America’s food producers and suppliers are listening to consumer concerns. In January 2008, Starbucks stopped using rBGH-treated milk.(McFarland) Closely following in March 2008, was Wal-Mart who banned rBGH use in their store-brand milk products.

Monsanto can’t seem to keep consumers happy,