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PROVO, Utah (AP) -- After objections from dairy farmers and the state, Associated Food Stores will change ads that promote hormone-free milk.
"Hormones are naturally occurring in milk, so the ad is false and misleading," said Kyle Stephens, deputy commissioner of the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food.
The ads, which are grocery fliers used by 170 stores affiliated with wholesaler Associated Food, say: "Got Hormones? We Don't."
It was a reference to rBST, a genetically engineered hormone given to cows to boost milk production.
Stephens said Associated Food will change the milk ads Sunday to say, "Got All Natural Milk? Our Cows Do."
"We want to be good corporate citizens. But obviously we've offended the dairy farmers," said Neal Berube, chief operating officer with Associated Food, based in Salt Lake City.
"We respect them and are compassionate to their needs," he said. "But we're not embarrassed about giving consumers a choice."
The Food and Drug Administration approved rBST to boost production in dairy cows in 1993, making it one of the first major biotechnology-related products to enter the national food supply.
"We're not saying rBST milk is dangerous," Berube said. "We have milk that's not treated with the hormone rBST and we will continue to let consumers know we have that."
Stephens, however, said the ads are misleading.
"All milk is natural," he said.
A Utah dairy, Bateman's Mosida Farms, would be producing at least 10 percent less milk without the hormone.
"If we lose an advantage like rBST, which helps us produce milk cheaper, it's like taking money out of our pocket," Jason Bateman said.
Associated Food, however, said the trend is toward more milk without rBST.
"That will become the normal mode of production as demand for organic food increases," Berube predicted.
Information from: The Daily Herald
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)