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Five years After Monsanto Ruling, Oakhurst Dairy Feels Vindicated

PORTLAND, Maine (August 13, 2008) When the announcement came last week that agribusiness giant Monsanto was getting out of the dairy hormone business, it was a victory of sorts for Maine-based Oakhurst Dairy. Oakhurst was the first major dairy in the country to reject the use of artificial growth hormone in the production of its milk and to put this information on its label in the form of a Farmers' Pledge: No Artificial Growth Hormone Used. Five years ago, Monsanto sued Oakhurst, alleging that its label misled consumers into thinking there was something wrong with milk from cows treated with artificial growth hormone. In a David and Goliath contest that had nationwide implications, the independent, family-owned dairy fought Monsanto to preserve the right to inform customers that Oakhurst milk is produced without the use of artificial growth hormone.

Oakhurst president Stan Bennett is proud of his company's long-held position. "From the beginning, we made the decision not to use artificial growth hormone in our milk production because we felt it was the right thing to do. Questions and concerns from consumers over the use of artificial growth hormone, decisions in Europe and Canada to ban the substance and our concerns for the health of cows that willingly give us their milk every day all contributed to our decision to keep artificial growth hormone out of the production of our milk one of nature's most perfect foods."

Oakhurst retained the right to put its Farmers' Pledge on its milk label but added a disclaimer: "FDA states: No significant difference in milk from cows treated with artificial growth hormone." In recent years, many other milk producers, retailers and now cheese producers have added similar "no artificial growth hormone used" language to their labeling and marketing communications. In response to consumer demand for more natural foods, all of New England's major milk producers have followed Oakhurst's lead.

"We fought a good fight and this most recent decision by Monsanto makes us as a company feel somewhat vindicated," said Stan Bennett. "I'd like to think that, in some small part, we played a role in that decision."

Oakhurst is Northern New England's largest, independent dairy company, with three generations of commitment to the health and wellbeing of the community and the environment. For 87 years, the Bennett family has stood behind every glass of Oakhurst milk. The company contributes 10% of annual profits to organizations that promote healthy kids and a healthy environment another good reason to choose the Natural Goodness of Maine. For more information visit www.oakhurstdairy.com. 

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