The National Organization for African Americans in Housing (NOAAH), a non-profit advocate for low-income citizens, has called on the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to stop dairy processors from marketing "no rBST" milk, which it said is identical to other milk but costs more.

No-rBST milk does not contain the engineered hormone called recombinant bovine somatotropin, which is used to increase milk production. However, the FDA concluded more than ten years ago that the recombinant, or genetically engineered form of BST is virtually identical to a cow's natural somatotropin, a hormone produced in the pituitary gland that stimulates the production of milk.

While experts agree that there is no difference between the two types of hormone, some milk processors have recently have begun selling milk labelled as "rBST free" at a price premium, sometimes for a dollar more a carton.

In a letter, NOAAH board secretary Kevin Marchman urged the FDA to put a halt to the "deceptive" practice, saying that it "cheats consumers and raises unwarranted fears".
Marchman said the milk processors making these claims are presenting low-income consumers with an unnecessary dilemma: to spend limited food money on higher-priced milk that is identical to less expensive products, or serve their families milk which they are led to believe is lower in quality and less safe. "We worry that low-income consumers, fearing 'hormones in milk' but unable to afford the more expensive 'rBST free' products, will stop drinking milk altogether and opt for less-healthy alternatives," the letter read.
"The expressed position of the Food & Drug Administration and many other government and independent organisations is that milk from cows given rBST is no different than milk from cows not given this hormone," the letter continues. "Yet companies advertising 'no hormone' milk are charging as much as a dollar more per carton - an outrageous act given that they are clearly attempting to get consumers, including low-income people with limited resources, to pay more for something that is of no more nutritional value or safer than milk that costs less."