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CFS Files Legal Petition with FDA to Remove rBGH from Market

January 16, 1999

The Center for Food Safety announced today, January 15, 1999, that it, along with two dozen other public interest organizations, had filed a legal petition with the FDA demanding the immediate withdrawal of recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) from the market. Manufactured by the Monsanto Corporation, rbGH is injected into an estimated 15-30 percent of American dairy cows in order to increase their milk production. FDA approved the drug in 1993 asserting that it posed no significant threat to human or animal health.

The legal action was filed within 24 hours of the Canadian government’s rejection of rbGH for sale in Canada. Canada’s rejection of the drug was based primarily on its animal health impacts. After nine years of research Canada’s veterinary experts found that the use of rbGH on dairy cows created an increased risk of 50% in lameness, 25% in incidences of mastitis, and 40% in infertility. Overall the Canadians found up to a 25% risk that rbGH treated cows would have to be culled from herds. The Canadians also found that more research needed to be done on the human health impacts of the consuming dairy products from rbGH treated cows.

Today’s legal action is a supplemental petition to that filed on December 15, 1998 by the same petitioners. That petition demanded that FDA withdraw rbGH based on new questions about the human health consequences of using the drug.

Commenting on today’s legal filing, Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety stated, “It is now clear that rbGH can have devastating health impacts on dairy cows and dire economic consequences for farmers who are losing a significant portion of their herds.”

“Given the new findings on animal health FDA must immediately rescind its approval of this drug,” Kimbrell concluded.

Center for Food Safety Legal Director, Joseph Mendelson, noted that “FDA and Monsanto could now face substantial financial liability from suits by diary farmers who have suffered losses because of the drug.”

To view petition, click HERE.