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Consumers and Organic Dairly Producers Oppose New Milk Labels

A coalition of consumer groups and organic dairy producers is mobilizing against a proposed rule about milk labels that say whether the cows were given synthetic hormones.

The debate over the labeling is pitting some smaller dairy producers against some large-scale dairy farmers who use the hormones to boost milk production in their cows and help their profits. The artificial hormone duplicates a naturally occurring hormone found in cows.

The artificial hormone has been allowed since 1994 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The agency says there is no significant difference between milk produced by cows supplemented with the hormone and cows that are not. Under the proposed rule this disclaimer must be included alongside any label that says milk is free of the synthetic hormone.

The rule is up for a public hearing in Columbus Wednesday. (Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)