TILLAMOOK, Ore.Members of the Tillamook County Creamery Association (TCCA) have voted 2-1 to stick with a no-rBST policy that has been developed and approved by the organization's board of directors, the co-op says.
The full membership voted earlier this week on whether or not to affirm the policy which had been unanimously approved by the board in May 2004. The policy requires that as of April 1 all milk producers delivering milk to TCCA's facilities (both in Boardman, Ore. and in Tillamook, Ore.) will certify that their milk is, and thereafter will be, from cows not supplemented with rBST.
The policy caused a bit of a struggle between Tillamook's management and Mostanto Corp., St. Louis, the makers of Posilac, the brand name of the synthetic growth hormone. Tillamook accused Monsanto of interfering with the co-op's internal decision-making process by contacting individual farm members to discuss the issue and encourage them to question the policy.
Monsanto countered that it simply supports the individual dairy farmers' right to make the decision about using Posilac to boost milk production.
TCCA says the Feb. 28 member meeting was the final step in the process to implement the rBST policy, which was initiated based on market research over the past two years, market trends tracking, consumer buying habits and a significant increase in consumer concern over the use of rBST in Tillamook products.
Despite reassurances from the Food and Drug Association (FDA) and scientists, consumers view artificial growth hormone supplementation as inconsistent with the Tillamook brand image, TCCA says.
The cheesemaker says it does not intend to at this time label its products rBST-free, but will inform its consumers and customers who ask about rBST of the policy.