Pennsylvania agriculture officials have banned the use of hormone- and antibiotic-free labels on dairy products sold in the state, upsetting food-safety advocates and handing the chemically enhanced dairy industry a significant victory. The ruling takes effect Jan. 1 and would affect at least 19 companies that label their milk or other dairy products as having come from cows that are free of hormones, antibiotics, rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone), or rBST (recombinant bovine somatotropin). New Jersey and Ohio are considering similar label bans. Monsanto, the company that manufactures the most common growth hormone given to cows — among other things — defended the ruling. Michael Doane, the company’s spokesflack, said that the hormone-free label “implies to consumers, who may or may not be informed on these issues, that there’s a health-and-safety difference between these two milks, that there’s ‘good’ milk and ‘bad’ milk, and we know that’s not the case.” Or didn’t you people get the memo?

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