Want to know if the milk you buy contains hormones? Good luck in Pennsylvania. The state agriculture department there recently barred farmers from telling consumers whether or not they're feeding their cows hormones. The move prompted over 65 consumer, agricultural, animal protection, retail and public health organizations to write a letter to Gov. Ed Rendell (D.) urging him to override it. "The PDA [Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture] action interferes with consumers' right to know about the foods they eat," Joseph Mendelson, legal director of the Washington, D.C.–based Center for Food Safety, said in a statement. "Many consumers prefer to buy milk produced by cows not treated with artificial hormones, as evidenced by the success in stores across the country of such milk." The PDA in October reportedly told 16 state dairies that they could not use certain labels on milk, including "Our farmers' pledge: No artificial growth hormones"; "From cows not treated with the growth hormone rBST"; and "Free of artificial growth hormones." The ban is set to take effect on February 1. "We urge the State of Pennsylvania to rescind this poorly conceived policy which interferes with the rights of farmers, dairies and consumers, and constitutes inappropriate government interference in the marketplace," said Ronnie Cummins, National director of the Minnesota-based Organic Consumers Association. "This new policy on the part of PDA was issued with no opportunity for comment or input from consumers, dairy farmers, processors or the general public, and as such, is a violation of basic democratic process."
Lawyer didn't transmit TB to other passengers
Apparently no fellow passengers contracted tuberculosis from the globe-trotting lawyer who flew to Italy in May to get married while stricken with a virulent form of tuberculosis. The Associated Press reports that preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that about 250 U.S. passengers aboard a May 12 Air France flight from Atlanta to Paris with Andrew Speaker tested negative for the respiratory ailment; ditto those on a return flight from Prague to Montreal, according to Canadian health officials. Speaker sparked international outrage when it was learned that he continued with his travel plans despite warnings from health officials that he tested positive for the respiratory ailment. (Associated Press)