Safeway's Hormone Decision Should Help Lucerne's Image

June 27, 2011
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Safeway’s recent decision to begin offering recombinant bovine growth hormone-free dairy products in its Lucerne private label is an attempt to position Lucerne in a more healthy, wholesome light, says Jonathon Asher, senior vice president, Perception Research Services, Fort Lee, N.J.


"There is going to be a segment of the population that responds to this holistically," he adds. "It makes sense that private label brands would go that way."


Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), or recombinant bovine somatropin (rBST), is an artificial growth hormone used by dairy farmers to accelerate the production of milk in cattle. The hormone has been controversial in the consumer market for a number of years due to its link to a cancer-accelerating hormone called IGF-1.


Opponents of the hormone also claim that rBGH/rBST increases the potential for udder infections and milk contamination.


Safeway’s decision to move toward producing more rBGH/rBST-free products resulted from customers raising concerns about the hormone in their dairy products, according to information posted on Safeway’s Web site. It had already been offering rGBH-free Lucerne milk.


The company is pairing its rBGH/rBST-free pledge with labeling that states, “The FDA states that no significant difference has been shown between milk derived from rBST-treated cows and non-RBST-treated cows.”


Safeway plans to expand its line of rBGH/rBST-free products as the year continues, the company has said.

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