Woolworths is pleased to announce the reintroduction of rBST-free labelling onto their milk packaging, starting with all of their fresh Ayrshire milk products. This follows the approval from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) of Woolworths audit protocol, including the implementation of rBST hormone testing.

BST is a naturally occurring protein hormone produced by dairy cows to regulate their milk production. rBST is a synthetic version of BST, often given to cows to increase their milk production. Since 2002, Woolworths has not used rBST to treat any of their Ayrshire dairy cows in response to customer demand.

“We are very pleased to be able to offer our customers further assurances that our fresh Ayrshire milk does not contain rBST. Alongside the relationships we have built with our dairy farmers, regular audits to ensure they are not administering the hormone, and extensive audit protocols, we are now also able to accurately test milk for the presence of rBST. This means we can verify via structured testing that our milk is rBST free,” says Suzy O’Regan, Woolworths Dairy Product Developer.

“Our commitment to responding to our customers’ requests for milk produced without the use of the rBST hormone was the driving force behind implementing testing by with an internationally recognised academic institution,” adds O’Regan,.

Woolworths has been working closely with the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries regarding the processes of legal compliance as well as the Dairy Standard Agency to ensure product integrity regarding rBST at farm level.

rBST-free labelled milk products will be available in stores from the 4th September and will be rolled out during the course of the month. The Ayrshire milk bottle, which currently displays our “green heart” to communicate that it is made of 30% plant-based plastic, will now also include the rBST-free ‘stamp’.

“This announcement is another milestone on our Good Food Journey, following the launch of our environmentally friendly plant-based milk bottles last year. This is our commitment to providing customers with food that is better for the environment and better for the people who produce it,” concludes O’Regan.




Notes to editors:

Woolworths rBST-free journey

From 2006, a large proportion of Woolworths dairy products were initially labelled as ‘rBST free’. In order to ensure the credibility of its labelling, Woolworths had producer commitments and suppliers were independently audited to ensure that they do not administer the artificial hormone to dairy cows. However, in 2014 DAFF ruled that rBST-free claims needed additional verification, namely testing of the milk. At that time, Testing for the presence of the rBST hormone was not available anywhere internationally. Therefore, in 2014, Woolworths had to remove this claim from their packaging.


About Woolworths Good Food Journey

The Good Food Journey is the name we’ve given to our ongoing pursuit to offer South Africa food that’s better for our customers, better for the environment and better for the people who produce it. It encompasses everything from avoiding additives like tartrazine and all other azo-dyes, MSG, aspartame, saccharine and cyclamate in our foods, switching to natural colourants and flavourants, never using mechanically deboned meat, labelling ingredients from potentially GM crop sources and offering more organic and free range choices to caring for the welfare of animals and promoting healthy eating as part of a healthy lifestyle, which includes reducing the salt in breads, cereals, deli meats and providing nutritional information on most products for customers to make informed choices.