Nikolai Vlasov, deputy head of the Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitary Inspection Service, warned that women grow mustaches if they drink certain types of American-produced milk, according to an interview published Wednesday.
The milk in question comes from the dairy cows that receive bovine growth hormone, also known as bovine somatotropin, which boosts the yield, Vlasov said in an interview with Rossiiskaya Gazeta.
"In the United States, dairy cows are treated with somatotropic hormone. As a result, the yield increases by 20 percent. And it makes women develop male sexual characteristics — mustaches," he said.
Vlasov made the comment when discussing Russia's recent ban on supplies of U.S. meat, which officials attributed to health concerns over the use of a feed additive.
The interview ran under the headline, "American Milk Causes Women to Grow Mustaches."
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the hormone for the dairy industry in 1993. A joint commission of the World Health Organization and the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization also determined that the use of the hormone in dairy cows is safe for humans.
But the commercial application of the substance remains controversial because food safety advocates have cited potential health hazards to both cows and humans.
Several nations have banned the hormone, including all 27 European Union nations, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. In the U.S., despite lack of federal concern, consumer pressure has led many companies to discontinue injections of the hormone.