Bovine GH On The Way!

Hormone heist has authorities worried
POSTED: 10:05 a.m. EST, February 21, 2007
Story Highlights? Growth hormone rBST sells for top dollar on the black market
? rBST not common, but recent theft implies larger hormone-peddling scheme
? Thieves nabbed $30,000 worth of rBST from California farm in December
? Canada and Europe ban the hormone

FRESNO, California (AP) – Surveillance video captured three thieves slipping onto E.J. deJong’s dairy farm under the cover of night, making their way past the cows in his milking parlor.

One, wearing a cowboy hat, used a bar to pry open the door to the farmer’s office, where deJong stored thousands of drug-filled syringes used to boost milk production in his herd.

They made quick work carting out their haul. In just one night, deJong lost about $30,000 worth of the genetically engineered hormone rBST, or recombinant bovine somatotropin, in what police say was one of the most brazen, high-value heists to date. The three suspects still haven’t been caught.

Rural crime officials say vials of rBST are a favorite among thieves who resell the growth hormone for top dollar on the black market. Fewer dairy farmers use it these days because of concerns over its health effects, and thefts have declined in recent years, but the sophistication and overall worth of the December break-in have alarmed authorities over the possibility of a larger hormone-peddling syndicate.

“These kinds of crooks don’t steal this stuff unless there’s a market for it,” said William Yoshimoto, a Tulare County prosecutor and project director for the Agricultural Crime Technology Information and Operations Network. “We’re worried something is starting up again.”

RBST was one of the first major biotechnology-related products to enter the nation’s food supply when it was approved in 1993 by the Food and Drug Administration to boost milk production in dairy cows.

Organic farmers and animal welfare organizations remain skeptical that milk from hormone-treated cows is safe for human consumption. Canada and Europe ban the hormone, mostly out of concern that it makes cows more prone to illness, and major U.S. producers like Oregon’s Tillamook County Creamery Association have forbidden its use."

Something to save up for? :wink: