In any living mammal, growth hormones are naturally occurring substances which, amongst other things, aid in the growth and development of the species.
Naturally occurring growth hormones in cows known as bovine somatotropin (BST) or bovine growth hormone (BGH) is secreted by the cow's pituitary gland and along with other hormones aids in the production of milk.
Growth hormones in cows, other than the naturally occurring one, are being introduced by cattle owners in order to increase productivity as well as profitability.
In recent years, the GMO Company Monsanto has developed a genetically-engineered synthetic growth hormone known as recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) or recombinant bovine somatotropin hormone (rBST) which can increase milk production by as high as 25%.
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The use of rBST hormone has been approved by the FDA since 1994 despite protests by different consumer groups. Mastitis treatment reduces the effort of SCC testing by doing all the hard work for you.
In many developed countries, except in the US, the use of this hormone in cattle has been banned due to the many health hazards that it may pose.
rBGH milk is known to contain more pus, bacteria, and antibiotics and despite this, its use has still been approved by the USFDA.
It has also been noted that milk from rBST-treated cattle has higher levels of a protein known as insulin-dependent growth factor 1 (IGF-1). This growth factor has been implicated in several forms of cancer such as breast, colon and prostate cancer.
The early onset of puberty in girls has also been seen in recent years and researchers are now looking at the possibility of this phenomenon being caused by the use of rBST hormones in milk-producing cattle as well. The problem with early puberty lies in the fact that this may also be one of the precursors for breast cancer in women.