Hormones in Milk and Beef Production: Are They Safe?

Written by specialreporteditor on 7/5/2011 5:57 AM | COMMENTS (12)

When you buy a gallon of milk or a package of hamburger, do you give a thought to hormones that beef and milk cattle may have been given on the farm? My most recent Special Report article delves into the debate that has been going on for years over whether hormones that promote tissue growth or milk production in these animals are harmful to human health.

To some environmental and consumer advocates, the questions have never been adequately resolved. They fear synthetic hormones in cattle may lead to a number of unintended effects ranging from antibiotic resistance to reproductive abnormalities in people. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and many scientists say there’s no evidence of a problem. Some experts further believe that use of such biotechnologies will become increasingly important for food production as the world’s population grows.

Take a look at my report and share your thoughts. When foods that some think may be harmful are also staples, they’re tough to avoid—unless you spend more money to buy organic products or those specifically raised and marketed as hormone-free. Do you feel the added cost is worth it? Have these issues influenced your decisions at the grocery store—or perhaps even led you to a vegetarian or vegan diet? Or do you feel production-enhancing hormones are nothing to worry about?

Categories: Health


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  • Post Image agletter (jim)

    10/25/2012 7:46 AM
    Your Special Report states: "it’s estimated that about 20 percent of U.S. dairy cows receive rBGH." Is that estimate still current?


  • Post Image dairygirl62

    7/19/2011 7:30 AM
    To healthyguy2 Thanks for the positive and insightful comment. Those of us who have devoted our lives to production agriculture have had to become so good at what we do because there are fewer stewards of the land and animal caretakers then ever before. The population has increased tremendously, and it has made us fine tune what we do everyday in order to provide a healthy, wholesome product that we feed to our families and feel comfortable providing consumers the same quality as well.


  • Post Image healthyguy2

    7/18/2011 6:33 PM
    It is wonderful to live in a country with so many wonderful food choices. All Americans should consider that the average lifespan has amost doubled in the USA over the last 100 years. This was, in part, due to good wholesome food at a reasonable price. We all owe hardworking farmers a lot for their efforts to produce healthy and abundant food. I just wish more people would look at the facts, rather than alarmist viewpoints, when discussing food safety and food choices.


  • Post Image dairygirl62

    7/18/2011 11:55 AM
    My husband and I and our teenage children are first-generation traditional dairy farmers in Wisconsin. My husband is a Madison graduate in Dairy Science and I am a people nutritionist/asst. librarian. We are passionate about the care we give our 100 Holstein girls 24/7. We are confident consuming the products we produce and know the consumer is getting the very best at an economical price. Dairy products are a critical part of a healthy eating plan. Get to know your local dairy producer.


  • Post Image frostypenn (sarah)

    7/18/2011 11:46 AM
    I can feel the difference in my pain level, my energy, and my appetite. I got sick of buying organic beef at $27.50 a pound, so I bought a cow at an agricultural auction last year, paid to ship her to the butcher, and paid him to process her. She was old and tough and I have to stew everything that's not ground, but it's definitely better. It satisfies with fewer points and the broth is fantastic.


  • Post Image anstephens

    7/14/2011 11:26 AM
    We almost always buy our milk organic, there is something about non organic milk that my body doesn't like I have a lactose intolerance problem with non organic but when i drink organic i rarely have that issue. With our beef sometimes its about convenience otherwise we purchase organic.


  • Post Image kimschroeder1

    7/13/2011 10:32 AM
    The rule of thumb we go by is, if we consume something everyday like coffee, eggs, milk then we should go no hormone/organic.


  • Post Image jenjen4282 (jennifer)

    7/9/2011 10:52 AM
    I buy my beef from local small-scale farmers that do not use hormones because I simply prefer the flavor of fresher grass fed cows. It also helps to support my local farming community, which I enjoy being able to do. As far as hormones in my milk, I don't even pay attention to whether or not they are present because I have to buy lactose-free milk. As processed as milk and store-bought beef are, it is hard to imagine that hormones pose any clear and present danger to our health.


  • Post Image wani10

    7/6/2011 8:08 PM
    I take extra steps in ensuring my family eats as healthy as possible. This includes eating, organic, grass-fed, free range animals. Allowing the FDA to monitor the quality of our food is like asking the fox to watch the chicken coop. The solution is simple, pay now or pay later. Yes, organic foods cost more, but hospital bills, medicine and poor health costs even more. We are not made to digest pesticides and synthetic hormones without having consequences.


  • Post Image karen5726

    7/6/2011 8:13 AM
    I have a problem paying for organic or believing they produce is any healthier then another. By now, is not it the same product, same soil, air, water then across the valley, it is all the same. Saving my extra money for fresh.


  • Post Image qwendy

    7/5/2011 3:40 PM
    Both of my sons began to show signs of puberty very young (9 yrs old) and my youngest received a razor for his 12th birthday. He was also VERY tall for his age. When he was about 13 for reasons related to my personal health the entire family shifted to primarily organic products. My son's growth rate slowed dramatically and he is now in the "norm" for his age at 17. I don't think it was a coincidence that his development changed so dramatically at the same time as our diet shift.


  • Post Image jlczech

    7/5/2011 1:23 PM
    Considering how I've signifigantly changed my diet for the better since joining WW to the point of drinking soy milk for dairy requirements, I am not concerned at the moment about hormones in my foods. Possibly, I will in the future to find ways to get my yogurt without hormones but right now, it's more important for me to get the nutrients and benefits from dairy regardless of it's hormone additives. I look forward to reading more research on the topic.




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