cheese and jugs of milk against blue background ValentynVolkov/iStock/Thinkstock

Elanco granted preliminary injunction against Arla Foods’ rbST campaign

Federal judge halts “Live Unprocessed” rbST advertising campaign.

A federal court in Wisconsin granted June 15 Eli Lilly & Co. and Elanco US Inc.’s motion for a nationwide preliminary injunction against international dairy conglomerate Arla Foods and its “Live Unprocessed” ad campaign, which makes false and misleading claims about recombinant bovine somatotropin (rbST), a proven and safe dairy technology approved by the Food & Drug Administration in 1993.

Chief Judge William Griesbach of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin granted the preliminary injunction prohibiting Arla from continuing to run the recent television and social media ads against rbST, a supplement marketed and sold by Elanco under the brand name Posilac. As part of the campaign, launched across the U.S. in late April, the company animated a child’s interpretation of rbST as a six-eyed monster with “razor-sharp horns” and electrified fur.

The judge further prohibited Arla from claiming – either directly or by implication – in any advertising, website, social media or other public communication that rbST/Posilac or dairy products made from cows supplemented with rbST/Posilac are dangerous or unsafe; that dairy products made from milk of cows supplemented with rbST/Posilac are of lesser quality or less wholesome than other dairy products; or that consumers should not feel "good about eating" or "serving to their friends and family" dairy products made from milk of cows supplemented with rbST/Posilac.

“Elanco is very pleased with the court’s decision in this case,” said Eric Graves, president, Elanco North America. “As the court points out in its ruling, ‘fear-mongering’ does not ‘benefit the public.’”

Griesbach noted that FDA recently reaffirmed its scientific determination that milk from rbST-treated cows is safe, and that there is no significant difference between milk from cows treated with rbST and untreated cows. “Suggesting otherwise only serves to disseminate misinformation to the public,” the court wrote in its decision.

For more than 20 years, rbST has been used to help cows increase milk production without changing the safety and quality of the dairy products we consume. As one of the most researched animal products ever to be approved by FDA, rbST and dairy products made with milk from rbST-treated cows, have been deemed safe by scientific authorities and regulators in more than 50 countries across the globe, including the World Health Organization.

“Consumers are seeing examples of marketing claims involving (genetically modified organisms), cage-free eggs, antibiotics and other modern farm practices, and are being misled by false notions about these important innovations,” Graves added. “We will continue to champion animal health innovation and provide science-based facts about our products because it’s the right thing to do for our customers and for consumers who want the truth about the food they buy for their families.”

For more research and information about the health, safety and sustainability of rbST, visit www.elanco.us/truth-about-dairy.

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