Cultural Engagement and Understanding

While bored between classes today, I stopped at CVS and I bought a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream. As I walked back to my dorm, I noticed that the back read, “the FDA has said no significant difference has been shown and no test can now distinguish between milk from rBGH treated cows and untreated cows. Not all the suppliers of our other ingredients can promise that the milk they use comes from untreated cows”–Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream.

It concerns me that we can’t distinguish regular milk from milk that contains rBGH or recombinant bovine growth hormone. The hormone is used cautiously by farmers to increase milk yields in lactating cows. The FDA claims to have completed thorough research on rBGH after Vermont Public Interest Research Group and Rural Vermont questioned their approval of the chemical. Unfortunately, the results of their studies remain inconclusive.

Americans consume a variety of different food products, typically from seemingly healthy, FDA-approved products found in local supermarkets. Other cultures use different means to decide what food is healthy or socially acceptable to eat. In Italy, pasta has become a national, historic symbol of the culture. In Japan, families consume rice daily because it ceremoniously brings people together. American “frankenfood” has become an important part of our cultural identity (Delaney, 2011: 275). My pint of Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream is not just ice cream, but the product of a technologically based, economically driven American culture.

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Food and Drug Administration. 2009 Report on the Food and Drug Administration’s Review of the Safety of Recombinant Bovine Somatotropin. Electronic Document,, accessed October 22, 2013. 

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