News briefs: Bulgarian protests, Lifeway farmers pledge

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Milk production Bovine somatotropin Dairy farming

This week, Bulgarian farmers following in the footsteps of their
fellow EU counterparts in protests over milk production costs and
Lifeway Foods plays up hormone free milk.

Milk protests hit Bulgaria Despite strikes by German, Dutch and other European dairy farmers last week over the cost of milk production, Bulgaria has this week been rocked by similar protests, according to news reports.

Farmers in the country are calling for an additional €0.15 on the current €0.25 per litre wholesale milk purchase price after rallies at the agricultural ministry on Wednesday, according to the Reuters news agency.

Feed crop prices are though to have particularly exacerbated cost concerns in the country, in line with farmer sentiment across the bloc.

Lifeway plans hormone free pledge US-based Lifeway Foods has this week announced that it will now supply milk that is certified 100 per cent free from the Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH).

The company said it will market the pledge on its product labels to target consumer concerns over the potential affect of consuming hormones in milk.

Although the company said it has been producing hormone and antibiotic free milk for some time, Lifeway chief executive officer Julie Smolyansky believes that the pledge from its farmers will boost awareness of the product.

"We think this added benefit will continue to help us reach a wider group of health conscious consumers," she stated.

RBGH, also referred to as recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST), is a synthetic variant of the naturally occurring hormone in the pituitary gland of cattle, which can be injected into a cow to increase milk production.

A number of processors are moving to play up the 'free from' angle on their products, despite some controversy over the labelling.

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