Yesterday, a federal court in Wisconsin granted Eli Lilly and Company 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 FDA 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.’”
Judge Griesbach noted that the 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 the 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.1,2
“Consumers are seeing examples of marketing claims involving GMOs, 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, please visit www.elanco.us/truth-about-dairy.
Elanco provides comprehensive products and knowledge services to improve animal health and food-animal production in more than 70 countries around the world. We value innovation, both in scientific research and daily operations, and strive to cultivate a collaborative work environment for more than 6,500 employees worldwide. We are committed to raising awareness about global food security, and celebrating the human-animal bond. Founded in 1954, Elanco is a division of Eli Lilly and Company. Visit us at Elanco.com.
1 Recombinant Bovine Somatotropin (rbST): A Safety Assessment. Joint Annual Meeting of the American Dairy Science Association, Canadian Society of Animal Science and American Society of Animal Science. Republished March 26, 2012.
2 Evaluation of certain veterinary drug residues in food. The seventy-eighth report of Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives. World Health Organizations 2014.
Forward looking statement
This release contains forward-looking statements regarding litigation against international dairy conglomerate Arla Foods. These statements are based on management's current expectations and beliefs, but actual results may differ materially. Among other things, there can be no assurance that the company will prevail in any litigation. Other risk factors that may affect the company’s results can be found in the company's latest Forms 10-K and 10-Q filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Lilly undertakes no duty to update forward-looking statements except as required by law.