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As of yesterday, Ukrop's Super Markets, Inc., based in Richmond, Va., has officially changed its Ukrop's brand milk and cream products to be rBST hormone-free.
The change is in response to customers' increased requests for more artificial hormone-free dairy options, according to the regional retailer.
The artificial growth hormone rBST -- which stands for recombinant bovine somatotropin hormone (rBST) and increases a cow's production of milk -- is no longer being used by the farmers that provide milk for Ukrop's and Richfood milk and cream products, Ukrop's said.
The transition affects some 13 Ukrop's-branded milk and cream products offered under the Ukrop's brand in all 29 stores in Richmond, Williamsburg, Fredericksburg, and Roanoke.
Ukrop's customers can choose rBST hormone-free products from a full range of options: whole, two percent, one percent, skim, half & half, and whipping cream.
Milk used in Ukrop's fluid dairy products is processed at a central facility in Richmond after coming from local farms in Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania. These supplying dairy farmers now certify their milk does not come from cows treated with rBST, Ukrop's said.
The retailer said it will continue to offer its full selection of Full Circle brand organic milk and dairy products. Produced under the strict requirements of the National Organic Program, these products are rBST-free as well as antibiotic-free.
Ukrop's said its own-brand of milk and cream products is the most popular choice among customers, accounting for 82 percent of milk and cream sales.
"Customers will not notice any difference in taste, color, nutritional value, or price as a result of our transition to rBST free fluid dairy products," said Sam Dortch, Ukrop's frozen food and dairy category manager, in a statement.
Ukrop's claims to be among the first supermarkets in Richmond to remove the artificial hormone from its products, and joins a growing list of grocery stores throughout the country making this shift.