Yoplait Yogurt Goes rBGH-Free

February 10, 2009

Yoplait yogurt will soon be free of artificial bovine growth hormone (rBGH), a synthetic hormone that has been linked to a number of health concerns, including breast cancer.

General Mills announced Monday that it will stop using milk produced from cows injected with rBGH (also known as rBST) in all Yoplait yogurts by August 2009.

“While the safety of milk from cows treated with rBST is not at issue, our consumers were expressing a preference for milk from cows not treated with rBST, and we responded,” Becky O’Grady, General Mills’ vice president of marketing for the Yoplait brand, said in a statement.

The hormone is already banned in Canada, Australia, Japan and the European Union. In the United States, corporations like Wal-Mart and Starbucks do not use milk from rBGH-treated cows in their products.

Breast Cancer Action launched a consumer campaign last year to encourage General Mills to follow Wal-Mart and Starbuck’s lead.

In a guest blog post at OBOB, Pauli Ojea, a community organizer at BCA, explained the connection between rBGH and breast cancer and criticized Yoplait for “pinkwashing” — a term used to describe companies that participate in breast cancer fundraising or awareness campaigns but manufacture products that may be linked to the disease.

BCA’s “Think Before You Pink” campaign warned that Yoplait’s donations to breast cancer (10 cents for every lid consumers mailed in) came from sales of yogurt made with milk from cows treated with rBGH.

“We’re delighted that General Mills has decided to do the right thing in response to consumer demand,” said Barbara Brenner, BCA executive director of Breast Cancer Action, said in a statement released today. “When a company uses the pink ribbon to sell their products, they are making a promise to support women’s health. We want them to keep that promise — and we’ll monitor the company to make sure they do.”

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