Wawa Inc. will now only produce milk that is free of artificial growth hormones (rBST); this artificial bovine growth hormone will be eliminated from all milk that Wawa processes and sells at its 570 stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.
To ensure that all products processed and packaged by Wawa and under the Wawa label are free of artificial growth hormone, Wawa will now only purchase raw milk from farmers who will pledge, and sign legal affidavits, that they will not use artificial growth hormones in their cows. Customers will be able to see this “Farmer’s Pledge” through a seal on the label of all Wawa dairy products.
“Our commitment to selling the safest and highest-quality products goes back to the opening of Wawa Dairy Farms in 1902, when we offered bottled milk that was certified safe from cows that were guaranteed to be healthy and disease-free,” said Howard Stoeckel, Wawa president and CEO. “Offering artificial hormone-free milk furthers our commitment to offering our customers the quality and security they have come to expect from Wawa.”
All cows naturally produce bovinesomatotropin (BST), including those raised according to “organic” standards. Its biological function is to direct energy derived from a cow’s food to meet certain physical needs. An artificial version of this hormone was developed and called rBST–and some farmers inject it into cows to increase their milk production. While the FDA has concluded that no significant difference has been shown between milk derived from rBST-treated cows and non-rBST-treated cows, some consumer groups are requesting a change.
“At Wawa we strive to delight customers, and we feel it is imperative to listen to customer requests and concerns and respond accordingly,” said Stoeckel. “An increasing number of customers are requesting dairy products free of artificial growth hormone, so we thrilled to be able to offer them the safest and most natural choice available in our market.”