The Controversy Over Added Hormones in Meat and Dairy
Hormones and Steroids Used in Cattle
- Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rbGH)— to promote milk production (may also see it as bovine somatotropin [BST])
- Estrogen, testosterone, and progesterine—steroid hormones added to promote growth and production.
- Natural steroids like estradiol, testosterone, and progesterone.
- Man-mad steroids from compounds of estrogen, androgen, and progestin.
Battle Lines are Drawn
Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rbGH)
Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1)
General Additive Concerns
An Ongoing Battle
- Buy certified organic meat and meat products: Organic animals can only be fed 100% organic feed and cannot be given antibiotics or growth hormones. It is also safe to buy imported European meat products, as added growth hormones are banned in the EU.
- Buy rBGH-free or certified organic milk and dairy products: Organic dairy farms do not allow the use of rBGH, and other companies that do not use rBGH often include this information on the label. It is also safe to buy imported European and Canadian cheeses and other dairy products, as rbGH is banned in these countries.
The Organic Farming Research Foundation http://www.ofrf.org/
US Food and Drug Administration http://www.fda.gov/
Dietitians of Canada http://www.dietitians.ca/
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/
Andersson AM, Skakkeback, NE. Exposure to exogenous estrogens in food: possible impact on human development and health. European Journal of Endocrinology. 1999;140(6):477-85.
Bovine Somatotropin (BST). United States Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/ProductSafetyInformation/ucm055435.htm. Updated February 8, 2011. Accessed November 14, 2012.
Health Concerns about Dairy Products. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine website. Available at: http://www.pcrm.org/health/diets/vegdiets/health-concerns-about-dairy-products. Accessed on November 14, 2012.
Growth Hormones Fed to Beef Cattle Damage Human Health. Organic Consumers Association website. Available at: http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article%5F5543.cfmUpdated May 2007. Accessed November 14, 2012.
Raloff J. Hormones in your milk. Science News . 2003;164(18).
The Issues: rbGH. Sustainable Table website. Available at: http://www.sustainabletable.org/issues/rbgh/. Updated July 2008. Accessed November 14, 2012.
Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone. Cancer.org website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/othercarcinogens/athome/recombinant-bovine-growth-hormone. Updated February 18, 2011. Accessed November 14, 2012.
Vitale DC, Piazza C, Melilli B. Isoflavones: estrogenic activity, biological effect and bioavailability. Eur J Drug Metab Pharmacokinet. 2012.
- Reviewer: Brian P. Randall, MD
- Review Date: 11/2012 -
- Update Date: 11/14/2012 -
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