Thus far, Starbucks has arranged milk supply without artificial growth hormone in its stores in Northern California, New England, New Mexico, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska. It plans to stop using milk containing the hormone in all of its company-owned stores, while working to block its use in licensed stores as well.
Artificial growth hormone, known as rBGH or rbST, is a genetically engineered substance made by biotech giant Monsanto
Scientists have found that milk from cows treated with the artificial growth hormone contains a different hormone linked to cancer in humans. Meanwhile, use of the artificial growth hormone has also proved harmful to the dairy cows themselves, leading to problems like udder inflammation (and increased use of antibiotics to treat such maladies).
Consumers' increased awareness of this issue -- and their rejection of milk produced using artificial growth hormone -- seems to have gained strength over the last year. For example, in September, two big dairies, Dean Foods
I'm glad that Starbucks is making this move, even if dairy products that lack the artificial hormone command higher prices. I've started avoiding dairy products containing the artificial hormone, and it kind of frustrated me to think that the milk in my daily latte contained it. As a shareholder, I'm also glad to see Starbucks addressing this issue. Many Starbucks customers may not mind the substance in the least, but for those who vehemently oppose it, Starbucks' switch gives them reason to choose the java giant over rivals like Caribou
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