All PCC dairy products rBGH free

Seattle, Wash., April 3, 2007 — PCC Natural Markets, the nation's largest natural foods cooperative, has banned all dairy products containing rBGH, the artificial growth hormone widely used to increase the milk production of dairy cows across the country. All liquid milk, yogurt, sour cream, butter, cheese, ice cream, and kefir sold by PCC are free of the growth stimulant.

rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone), also known as rbST (recombinant bovine somatotropin) is a genetically-engineered pharmaceutical marketed by the Monsanto Co. under the brand name Posilac. It mimics the function of a naturally occurring hormone that regulates milk production in cows. Cows injected by rBGH typically produce an average of 10 percent or more milk, and an estimated one-third of dairy cows in the U.S. are given rBGH.

The artificial hormone was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in late 1993, and ever since has come under fire by physicians, nutritionists, and consumer groups who believe it to be a growing health risk, as well as a serious threat to the economic survival of small dairy farmers. The use of rBGH has been banned by every developed country in the world, including Canada and members of the European Union, except the U.S. PCC hopes that other food retailers will follow their lead and ban all products from cows injected with rBGH.

It has been proven that rBGH increases the level of a natural growth factor, IGF-1 (Insulin-like Growth Factor), in cow milk, and there is strong evidence that links IGF-1 to breast, colon and prostate cancers. When humans consume dairy products containing rBGH, the increased level of IGF-1 is not destroyed by digestion and it can be absorbed into the bloodstream and affect other hormones in the body.

The health of injected cows is also at greater risk, as higher rates of an udder infection, called mastitis, is associated with higher levels of IGF-1, as are higher rates of hoof disorders that can cause lameness. In addition, the treatment of mastitis requires antibiotics, which could also be passed to humans through an infected cow's milk.

"Many of our shoppers view the pursuit of greater profits by dairy producers using rBGH as blatant disregard for potential long-term health concerns for both humans and dairy cows," said Paul Schmidt, PCC's director of merchandising. "We don't allow artificial preservatives, colorings or flavorings in our product line, and we don't offer dairy products produced using an artificial hormone. Milk production is inexpensive and abundant in our country, and there are safer alternatives to injecting dairy cows with rBGH."

PCC has long supported local, small dairy producers. Schmidt says, "We deeply value our suppliers, and our ability to maintain close contact with them both assures us that our high standards are being met, and assures them that they have a dependable market for their high quality products."

About PCC Natural Markets: Headquartered in Seattle, WA, PCC Natural Markets is a certified organic retail cooperative with annual sales of $105 million and an active membership of nearly 40,000 households. PCC operates eight stores in Seward Park, View Ridge, Greenlake, West Seattle, Fremont, Kirkland, Redmond and Issaquah neighborhoods.

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Diana Chapman
PCC Natural Markets

206-547-1222, ext. 106
206-390-6657 (cell)

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