22 March 1999
Monsanto’d milk sparks new GM row
THE USA and Europe are heading for a dispute over genetically modified (GM) milk promoted by the biotech concern Monsanto.
New studies suggest that an artificial hormone used in the USA to make cattle produce more milk could raise the risk of breast and prostrate cancer in humans.
But the US government, which is pushing Europe to end a moratorium on the use of animal growth hormones, says the ban infringes free trade rules.
It also says the ban restrains the ability of Monsanto, which has patented a genetically engineered version of the hormone, to sell its product in Europe.
Research has found excess levels of the hormone can cause a fivefold increase in the levels of a protein called IGF-1 (immune growth factor) in milk.
Studies published last year showed that heightened levels of IGF-1 in humans carry an increased risk of prostrate cancer in men, and breast cancer in women.