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PLEASANTON, Calif. - In response to growing consumer opposition to artificial growth hormones, Safeway has reportedly put in place a ban on any dairy products with the artificial hormone called recombinant bovine growth hormone, or rBGH, at its Northwest processing plants.
Local news reports said Safeway already had some milk jugs in stores already carrying labels proclaiming them free of the artificial hormone. The chain said all of the milk products under its Lucerne brand will carry the labels in the next few months.
Safeway's decision affects milk supplied to processing plants in Clackamas, Ore., and Bellevue, Wash. Those plants process and package milk circulated in more than 100 Oregon stores and about 170 in Washington, as well as stores in Idaho and Alaska, according to the Oregonian.
Safeway's news apparently came as no surprise to local grocers. "The trend here is toward natural products," Tanney Staffenson, partner of Lamb's Markets, Wilsonville Ore. told Progressive Grocer. "Our local dairy has been doing this for a while, because it's very important to our customers."
In the past two years, other dairy suppliers in the Northwest have been opting to stay away from cows with growth hormones. In April of 2005, the Tillamook County Creamery Association decided to go rBGH-free, for example.
The hormone rBGH is injected into dairy cows so they will produce more milk. The hormone has been linked to udder infections, which has resulted in dairies using antibiotics - which consumers fear can increase cancer risk.
-- Joe Tarnowski