Narrator: This is Science Today.
Bovine growth hormone is a genetically engineered
hormone. When you give it to a cow, the cow produces
more milk than she would naturally.
Liebhardt: It was approved by the FDA, although there is still considerable resistance to its use by a number of farm and consumer organizations.
Narrator: Bill Liebhardt, a sustainable agriculture expert at the University of California, Davis, says even though the government approves its use, many farmers are against bovine growth hormone for one simple reason: there's a milk surplus in the U.S.
Liebhardt: And so in order to try and reduce the surplus, the government actually had a dairy herd buyout program where they bought out whole herds of dairy cattle and disposed of them, they became hamburger basicallly, as an effort to reduce milk production.
Narrator: Given the milk surplus, Liebhardt says many farmers and consumers question the need for a substance that increases milk production even more. And consumer groups are still concerned about its effects on the human body. For Science Today, I'm Steve Tokar.