Jamie Harvie, (218) 525 7806 (W) (218) 340 6442 (Cell) ;
Barbara Sattler, DrPH, RN, FAAN , (410) 706 1924 ;

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Nurses rBGH-free Dairy Toolkit


(5/1/08 – Arlington, VA). Today, the Nurses Work Group of Health Care Without Harm, announced the release of an rBGH-free Dairy Toolkit in conjunction with National Nurses Week, May 6th – May 12th. The rBGH-free Dairy Toolkit is a collection of resources to help nurses across the country advocate for rBGH-free dairy products in their hospitals, for their patients and in their homes.

Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH or rBST) is an artificial hormone given to dairy cows to increase milk production. “There are growing concerns that the use of rBGH may pose unnecessary risks to human health,” stated Karen A. Ballard, MA, RN, the Nurses Work Group’s Chair. “Precaution is a principle of our profession, so especially when our health is concerned, it is logical to avoid the use of dairy produced with this unnecessary hormone.” The use of rBGH has been banned in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and all 27 nations of the European Union.

Hospitals and health systems that have reduced or eliminated their use of rBGH dairy include:

• The National Institutes of Health, Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center
• Catholic Health Care West Health System
• Fletcher Allen Medical Center, Vermont
• Oregon Health and Sciences University Medical Center
• Children’s Hospitals of Minnesota
• St. Luke’s Hospital, Minnesota

“The toolkit is a great collection of resources to help nurses promote healthy choices by encouraging our hospitals and our patients to purchase rBGH-free dairy,” stated Barbara Sattler, DrPH, RN, FAAN, nurse and Director of the Environmental Health Education Center at the University of Maryland School of Nursing. “Since many of our hospitals are already purchasing rBGH-free milk, I hope that companies such as Dannon and Yoplait will support our interest in health by eliminating the use of rBGH in their products, especially yogurt.”

HCWH encourages health care providers to purchase non-rBGH dairy products from suppliers. There are two categories of non-rBGH milk, organic and conventional. Organic is available in most parts of the country, usually at higher prices than conventional. Non-rBGH milk, often similarly priced to rBGH milk, may sometimes be labeled as containing "no artificial (or added) hormones." Buyers should ask their dairy suppliers for their policies on availability and verification methods for non-rBGH dairy products.

Across the country hospitals and healthy systems are adopting practices and policies to minimize the ecological health impacts from food production. Currently, 119 hospitals nationwide have signed Health Care Without Harm’s Healthy Food in Health Care Pledge (www.noharm.org/us/food/pledge).

HCWH is an international coalition of more than 470 organizations in 52 countries, working to transform the health care industry worldwide, without compromising patient safety or care, so that it is ecologically sustainable and no longer a source of harm to public health and the environment. HCWH includes over 30 national and international nurse organizations.

The Nurses rBGH-free Dairy Toolkit is available at www.noharm.org/us/nurses/rbgh. To learn more about HCWH’s work on food and health see www.healthyfoodinhealthcare.org. HCWH’s position on rBGH can be found at: http://www.noharm.org/details.cfm?ID=1104&type=document.

1 comment:

kimrennin said...

The American dairy industry annually produces about 20 billion gallons of raw milk, which is processed and sold as butter, cheese, ice cream, and fluid milk. This amounts to about $27 billion in sales each year. There are between 65,000 and 81,000 U.S. dairies, yet corporate consolidation means that about half of the milk sold comes from just under 4 percent of the farms. While the large number of brands and labels on store shelves would seem to indicate a diversity of sources, in reality many of these brands are owned by a handful of large corporations. For example, the country’s largest dairy producer, Dean Foods, owns 40 or so brands, 3 of them representing organic milk.