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Kroger Milk Dumps Hormone

July 31, 2007
Cincinatti Enquirer

Kroger will sell only milk certified to be free of a bovine growth hormone by February 2008, the Cincinnati-based grocer said today.

Earlier this year, Kroger shifted the milk it sells in the western half of the United States to a certified hormone-free supply.

By February, the milk that Kroger processes and sells in its stores throughout the Midwest and Southeast will also be certified as hormone-free. This includes Kroger banner stores in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

"Our customers' increasing interest in their health and wellness is the basis for our decision," said William Boehm, senior vice president and president of manufacturing for Kroger, in a statement. "We appreciate the willingness of dairy cooperatives across the country to work with us to make this transition in the next six months."

The hormone, called recombinant bovine somatotropin (or rBST), is given to cows to help increase milk production.

Use of the hormone has been controversial, with some pure food, animal rights activists and others opposing it. The Food and Drug Administration has concluded there is no difference between milk derived from cows treated with the hormone and those that haven't been given it.

Kroger operates 15 dairies and three ice cream plants - including one in Springdale - that produce all varieties of fluid milk and other dairy products such as yogurt, cottage cheese, ice cream and novelty treats. The company says its private label milk is the brand of choice for the majority of its customers.

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