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.
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-
Growth hormones in beef
The US cattle industry started using hormones to enhance beef produciton in 1956. They used DES (diethylstilbestrol)
Growth hormones in veal
In 2004, the US veal industry was found guilty of injecting 90% of its calves with growth hormones.  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.
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