Politics of the Plate: R.I.P., rBST (Redux)


It’s a rare day indeed when a multinational manufacturer of agricultural chemicals and genetically modified seeds takes my advice. But way back in March I suggested to Monsanto that there was no future in selling artificial bovine growth hormone rBST (aka Posilac). I offered the company that advice after Wal-Mart joined grocery giants Kroger, Publix, and Safeway in sourcing store-brand milk exclusively from cows not treated with rBST.

Well, they took their time, but after a largely unsuccessful lobbying effort in several states to ban dairies from labeling their milk as rBST-free even if it was, Monsanto announced earlier this month that its Posilac business was on the block.

And last week, a buyer stepped up. Eli Lilly and Co. plunked down $300 million for the Posilac brand.

It’s unclear where Posilac fits in with Lilly’s professed “commit[ment] to developing...pharmaceutical products that help people live longer, healthier and more active lives.” Perhaps in the coming weeks they’ll amend that mission statement to include something about helping cows live more “productive” lives.

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