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Alternate Names

Recombinant Bovine Somatotropin, rbGH, Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone, Bovine Somatotropin, BST, Posilac, BGH


rbST or rbGH is a synthetic hormone injected into cows to increase milk production and the length of time a cow is able to produce milk. Bovine Somatotropin (bST) or Bovine Growth Hormone (bGH) is a naturally occurring protein hormones found in dairy cattle. It is produced by the pituitary glands of cows and assists in the development and production of milk. The term Recombinant (the "r" in rbST or rbGH) is an artificially produced hormone which duplicates the natural hormone using DNA sequencing technology. Approved by the FDA in 1993. Monsanto is the sole producer and the hormone is sold under the name Posilac. According to the FDA, labeling dairy products from cows not treated with rbST, must follow this guideline: "dairy products from cows not treated with rbST - No significant difference has been shown between milk derived from rbST-treated and non-rbST-treated cows.''

rbST - Quick Stats

Recombinant Bovine Somatotropin, rbGH, Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone, Bovine Somatotropin, BST, Posilac, BGH

Allergy Information



Additional Information

Hormonal Growth Promoters (HGPs) were banned in the European Union and Canada in 1999. There are many concerns associated with rbST use including: (1) Higher incidences of mastitis - (inflamed tissue of the udders causing infection). (2) Increased use of antibiotics (to fight mastitis) (a) Antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the milk causing (b) antibiotic resistance for humans and cattle. (3) Elevated levels of growth hormone IGF-1 which has been linked to wide variety of cancers in humans.

Found In

milk, cottage cheese, yogurt, cheese, smoothies, ice cream, butter, sour cream, and other foods containing dairy

Possible Health Effects

RbST has been shown to increase levels of IGF-1 (a growth hormone). Studies link IGF-1 with a wide variety of cancers including prostate, breast, lung, and ovarian cancers.

Allergy Information


In The News

4/23/09 - US Department of Health & Human Services releases the Report on the Food and Drug Administration's Review of the Safety of Recombinant Bovine Somatotropin.

Online Resources/Related

Print Resources

Copyright December 3, 2010 Be Food Smart

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