Canadian milk is no place for artificial growth hormones

Article 2 min

Canadians are rightfully paying more attention to what’s in their food and how it’s made. One common question is whether the foods we enjoy contain hormones. Here’s what you need to know about artificial growth hormones and why they’re not being used on Canadian dairy farms.

By DFC - PLC, Communications Team
Clover Crest Farm
Dairy cows enjoy a beautiful day out in the pasture


  • Artificial growth hormones have been banned in Canada since 1999
  • rbST, also known as rBGH, is an artificial growth hormone that can negatively impact cow health
  • Canadian dairy farmers are committed to offering the best possible care for their animals, which means never using artificial hormones

Hormones are a part of all living things. Plants, people, and animals (including cows) naturally produce them. They regulate key functions such as growth, reproduction, and health.

Where hormones are seen as a cause for concern is when artificial hormones are given to animals involved in food production, to enhance either their growth or production capacity.

Let’s take a closer look at the difference between natural and artificial growth hormones.


Somatotropin is a natural hormone that stimulates the normal, healthy growth of the skeleton, organs, and cells in cows and humans alike. 


Recombinant bovine somatotropin (rbST, also known as rBGH) is a synthetic version of somatotropin. This commercially-produced artificial hormone is used by some farmers (in other countries where it is not illegal) to increase a cow’s milk production. In 1999, Health Canada banned its use and sale in Canada due to concerns over animal health and welfare. Studies showed that cows receiving rbST injections were at risk of health issues (mastitis and lameness). To this day, rbST cannot be used for dairy farming in Canada.

100% Canadian milk comes from rbST-free Canadian cows because the use, sale, and import of artificial growth hormones is prohibited in Canada. 

The Dairy Farmers of Canada logo
The Dairy Farmers of Canada logo is a simple way to identify products made with 100% Canadian milk and dairy ingredients.

How can you enjoy rbST-free dairy? Look for the Quality Milk logo 

A simple way to be sure that your dairy products were made without synthetic growth hormones is to look for the Quality Milk logo. It’s our guarantee that a product is made with 100% Canadian milk and milk ingredients that are free of antibiotic residue, made without rbST, and full of goodness.