It is safe for people to drink milk produced with use of a genetically engineered hormone, a panel of experts said Friday, but there should be research into the "remote possibility" of ill effects on infants.

The conclusion by the panel, which was recruited by the National Institutes of Health, was the same as that of the Food and Drug Administration five years ago. FDA is conducting field tests to determine whether to license the substance, bovine somatatropine.BST may increase a cow's milk output by at least 10 percent. Milk from herds involved in BST field trials is being sold in some parts of the country.

Jeremy Rifkin, a longtime biotechnology skeptic, interrupted the panel's news conference to criticize its findings. Samuel Epstein, a University of Illinois professor, accused the panel of a whitewash that "trivialized" reports, such as his, about adverse effects on the health of dairy cows.