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Raging Hormones

Remember mother’s advice, "If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all"? If Monsanto gets its way in court, even saying something nice could get you in trouble–if you’re not saying it about them.

In July, the chemical giant sued Oakhurst Dairy, a family-owned operation in Maine, for touting its milk with the seemingly innocuous slogan, "Our Farmers’ Pledge: No Artificial Growth Hormones." Monsanto, which manufactures one such hormone, argued that Oakhurst’s "deceptive" and "misleading" marketing disparages Monsanto’s product by implying that the dairy’s milk is superior to that produced by hormone-treated cows.

Although the Food and Drug Administration says there is no difference between the two kinds of milk, the European Union has banned the hormone-treated variety because it contains elevated levels of IGF-1, a protein that has been linked to cancer. Cows injected with the hormone are also prone to infections and need more antibiotics.

What’s next, slaughterhouses suing vegetarian restaurants for promoting meat-free meals? —Jennifer Hattam

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