rBGH-free Milk and Other Dairy Products

If you’ve read about recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) and want to avoid it in your kids’ diets, here is some information about companies and brands without milk from cows given rBGH.

The good think is many products are now labeled as rBGH-free. For example, Polly-O string cheese in the smaller size is labeled rBGH-free (although the giant bulk pack from Costco is not).

ALL DAIRY

Any dairy product labeled as organic cannot, by definition, contain rBGH.

Whole Foods Market confirmed to me that 365 Brand products do not contain milk from cows given rBGH.

Stonyfield Farms also confirmed to me that none of their products contain milk from cows given rBGH.

Starbucks uses rBGH-free dairy in all beverages.

MILK

All of the following companies sell rBGH-free milk. This information came from Wikipedia, each with a citation, and appears accurate.

Dean Foods

Wal-Mart

Kroger

Costco

Winder Farms (a home delivery dairy and grocer in Utah and Nevada)

Safeway in the northwestern U.S.

Publix

Braum’s

Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club “Great Value” brand milk is rBGH-free but may not be labeled as such.

ICE CREAM

With regard to ice cream, Ben and Jerry’s, Whole Foods 365, and Stonyfield are all rBGH-free (confirmed directly to me). Trader Joe’s has some ice cream products labeled rBGH-free.

However, Breyers, Dreyers, Edys, Good Humor, Popsicle, Hagan Daaz, and Hershey’s all contain milk from cows given rBGH. Turkey Hill was less clear: they request farmers don’t use rBGH, but can’t say for sure whether farmers comply. (I talked to Hershey Dairy and Turkey Hill. The other companies were noted by the Huffington Post in this article.)

YOGURT

Dannon is 80% rBGH-free. Yoplait appears to be rBGH-free. Whole Foods 365 Brand, Stonyfield, and all organic yogurt is rBGH-free. I’ve read that, in the northeast, Trade Joe’s yogurt is from Stonyfield, which would make it rBGH-free, but I have no confirmation on this from the company.

RANDOM

Chipotle Mexican Grill serves rBST-free sour cream at its restaurants.

Another great list of rBGH-free companies and processors can be found at the Organic Consumers Association web site.

THE BOTTOM LINE

If your concerned about you or your family ingesting additional hormones, use this list as a guide and check labels.

For products you really want to know about, pick up the phone and call the company (or tweet at them – most companies are very responsive on Twitter.) If you don’t have time, let me know and I’ll do it for you. And if you know of any rBGH-free products not mentioned, please leave a comment letting us all know.

11 comments for “rBGH-free Milk and Other Dairy Products

  1. karyn
    October 14, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    What is the difference between a milk that is rBGH-free and organic? I’m getting confused. Why should I buy organic milk versus just regular milk that is rBGH-free?

  2. cat
    October 15, 2010 at 11:23 am

    Karyn, for milk to be organic, the cows cannot be given artificial hormones, so by definition organic milk is rBGH and rBST free.

    However, if milk is rBGH/rBST free but not organic, the farmer is not required to meet organic standards like organic feed, adequate space, and limits on medications.

    Does this help?

  3. Kay
    January 24, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    The Organic consumers association website has Dannon listed as one of the biggest buyers of milk from cows that have been treated with rBST. Please clear up this issue so that people can make educated choices about purchasing these products. I am not sure which site has correct information, but I would hate to buy Dannon thinking it was a good choice only to find out it is one of the worst.

  4. cat
    January 24, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    Kay, I just read this on the Dannon website:

    Q: Does Dannon use rbST (recombinant bST) in its yogurt?

    A: The Dannon Company has been working towards its goal of using only milk [and all dairy ingredients] from cows not treated with rBST(recombinant bovine somatotropin), a synthetic hormone that has been approved and declared safe for use by the FDA. We are well on our way to accomplishing this goal. In fact today nearly 80% percent of the milk currently used in the Company¿s products already comes from cows that are not treated with rBST. Dannon intends that during the third quarter of 2009 its two largest plants will no longer use milk [or any dairy ingredients] from cows treated with rBST. The Company¿s third plant will follow shortly thereafter. Although no safety issue is involved, Dannon has been taking steps to use only milk from cows not treated with rBST in response to growing consumer preference for so-called “rBST-free” dairy products. Dannon always listens carefully to the preferences expressed by consumers, and the evolution of the dairy market continues to move toward milk from cows not treated with rBST. Based on consumer preference, Dannon is encouraging its suppliers to switch to milk sources that are “rBST-free,” to support the move by the entirety of the dairy market and not just yogurt. Dannon¿s products will continue to meet FDA requirements for safety as well as continue to be great-tasting and a nutritious part of a healthy diet.

    I updated the post above to reflect this information.

  5. Archana
    September 21, 2011 at 9:03 am

    Hi,
    Thanks for the information.
    I would like to know does Aldi provide milk & curd that is rBST or rBGH free.
    Is it safe for a pregnant women to have regular milk instead of organic milk as I have heard that organic milk is overly pasteurized which will kill its other natural nutrients present in the milk?

    Thanks in anticipation.

  6. cat
    September 21, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    Hi Archana,

    You bring up a great point about organic milk – that it’s processed using ulta-high temperature processing, which kills the good bacteria along with the bad. Here is a link to a really great article explaining it and giving a list of organic milk not made using that process. http://www.thesweetbeet.com/ultra-high-temperature-pasteurization/

    With regard to what to drink when you are pregnant, it’s important to remember two things: what you eat the baby eats and talk to your doctor.

  7. Renee
    December 29, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    Organic milk comes from cows who eat organic feed and are not treated with or fed antibiotics. GMO free!

  8. xenot
    January 16, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Please DO NOT LISTEN to anyone touting anything as being FDA approved. It is becoming common knowledge that a revolving door relationship exists between those who work for the FDA and then end up working for company’s such as Monsanto who is the manufaturer and sole distributor of rBGH or Prolisac. You cannot rely on the scientific studies conducted by scientists who used to work for Monsanto, or visa-versa. The fact is, rBGH is causing problems in the dairy industry because of the havoc this synthetic hormone is wreaking on cattle. Loads of cattle injected with the drug have to be sent to slaughter due to their becoming emaciated from the energy draw the enormous increases in milk production causes, and the overgrowth of their utters, causing them to limp. Also, studies show that many of their calves are born deformed with their legs above their heads, and their stomachs outside of their bodies. This is what the FDA is approving for you and your children. Remember, children do not have fully developed bodies and so hormones and their metabolites can have keenly amplified affects on them. Go organic. The risk is much too great.

  9. Margaret
    May 23, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    There are not many if any milk brands in Canadian stores that sell hormone free milk. I do not recognize most of the brands you mention above. And what brand name would I look for at wallmart , safeway or cosco, their brand or something else.

    Thanks

    M

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