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Growth Hormones in Food: Who benefits?

Many people are unaware of what actually goes into the cartons of milk they get from the local supermarket, or the cuts of beef they grill on the barbecue.

 
PRLog - Aug. 2, 2008 - Many large producers are extensively using growth hormones to boost production. This is not a new issue, bovine growth hormones, used in the US to boost beef and milk production, have been the focus of debate for some time now. But although growing numbers of consumers and scientists have expressed concerns about potential human health risks of this practice, the USDA and FDA have approved the use of six hormone growth promotants (HGPs) in the cultivation of beef cattle, and one more hormone used to increase milk productivity. Only a few other countries have approved the use of HGPs, while many others have banned their use.

Controversy also surrounds the fact that there are no labeling requirements in the U.S. for growth hormones in food. A recent study making a strong environmental case for the controversial cattle injections, has added a new twist to the debate. The growth hormone debate is centred around four main issues: who benefits from these growth hormones; animal health and welfare; food safety and environmental concerns.

However, many people are unaware of what actually goes into the cartons of milk they get from the local supermarket, or the cuts of beef they grill on the barbecue.

Growth hormones in milk

Bovine somatotropin or BST is a hormone naturally secreted by the pituitary glands of cows. Traces of BST are found in the milk secreted by the hormone injected animal. BST is also poularly known as BGH, or bovine growth hormone. It interacts with other hormones in cows' bodies to control the amount of milk they produce.

Scientists working for Monsanto, the agricultural giant, developed a genetically-engineered synthetic version of the hormone called recombinant bovine growth hormone or rBGH, that increased milk production by 10% to 25%. Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1993, it was offered to interested farmers the next year. By 2008, a third of American dairy cows were being injected with rBGH.

Growth hormones in beef

The US cattle industry started using hormones to enhance beef produciton in 1956. They used DES (diethylstilbestrol) – which had been approved for use in beef cattle in 1954. In the 1970s, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved six hormone growth promotants (HGPs). These included three naturally occurring hormones – Oestradiol, Progesterone and Testosterone – and three synthetically prepared hormones – Zeranol, Trenbolone, and Melengestrol.

Growth hormones in veal

In 2004, the US veal industry was found guilty of injecting 90% of its calves with growth hormones. [1] These hormones included all six HGPs approved for use in adult cattle only, bringing into focus the safety or side effects of injecting calves with hormones intended for heifers and steers over 700 lbs, a fact that has never been evaluated. It is suspected that these hormones may be metabolized differently in the young calf's body which could lead to greater amounts of hormones consumed by people who eat veal.

Source: http://www.copperwiki.org/index.php/Growth_Hormones_in_Food

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CopperWiki is an open collaboration platform for people seeking choices to live a responsible life. It is based on the twin aspects of awareness and choice. The purpose of CopperWiki is to enable people make informed choices in their day to day lives.

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Source:Abhijit Banerjee
Country:India
Industry:Agriculture
Shortcut:prlog.org/10097981
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