Monsanto Agricultural Co. officials said they responded Fridayto a Food and Drug Administration order to halt promotions ofbovine somatotropin (BST) as a safe and effective product forincreasing milk production in cows.

While denying that it had promoted the as-yet-unapprovedBST, the company said it would comply with the Jan. 9 orderfrom the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine.

Monsanto was ordered to immediately halt informationalseminars and distribution of educational brochures on BST. TheFDA identified as "objectionable" 24 statements about BST thatwere deemed to be "clearly promotional" and went "beyond thelegitimate exchange of scientific information" on the propertiesof an as-yet-unapproved product.

Monsanto refused to release a copy of its reply to the FDA.

Company spokesman Larry O'Neill said, "Nothing we've said ordone is promotional. ... However, we will comply with (theFDA's) new guidance."

An FDA spokeswoman, Bonnie Aikman, denied that the FDA'sinquiry into Monsanto's BST activities was prompted by acitizen's petition filed last November by Jeremy Rifkin of theFoundation on Economic Trends. Rifkin filed another complaint,alleging that the secretary of agriculture and members of theNational Dairy Board had improperly promoted BST. -- CarolEzzell

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.