Glanbia Foods, Inc., one of the nation's largest cheese producers, has joined the growing ranks of U.S. dairy processors who will stop accepting milk produced by cows treated with rBST.
The change goes into effect March 31, 2009, says Russ de Kruyf, Glanbia's Idaho milk buyer and incoming president of the Idaho Milk Processors Association.
"It's because of pressure from our customers,” de Kruyf says.
Recombinant bovine somatotropin is a synthetic hormone used to stimulate milk production in cows. While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said there is no difference between milk produced with rBST and milk produced with out it, a growing group of consumers are concerned about possible health risks from the growth hormone.
Glanbia Foods buys about 40% of the milk produced in Idaho, the nation's fourth-largest milk producer. It operates two cheese plants in Idaho's Magic Valley, one in Twin Falls and one in Gooding. Glanbia also operates two whey plants in Idaho.
Glanbia is also a 50/50 partner with the Greater Southwest Agency in Southwest Cheese in Clovis, N.M. That plant is one of the world's largest natural cheese and high protein whey processing facilities.
Galnbia's U.S. facilities collectively process more 12 million pounds of milk a day, resulting in more than 400 million pounds of cheese and 110 million pounds of dairy ingredients annually, according to the company's Web site at http://www.glanbiausa.com/dsp_aboutus.cfm.
Catherine Merlo is Western editor for Dairy Today. You can reach her at email@example.com.