Should I be worried about hormones?

© Eisenhans / PhotoXpress

© Eisenhans / PhotoXpress

There’s a lot of information out there about our food, and it’s creating some real confusion.

For instance, Shape Magazine recently posted an article titled “13 Banned Foods Still Allowed in the U.S.” The article discusses ingredients that are banned in many other developed countries, but are deemed safe by the FDA to be consumed in the United States.

We can definitely understand why that might sound scary. While we can’t speak to some of the other foods on the list, we would like to talk about the misinformation regarding hormones in milk.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) assure families and individuals that we need not worry about hormones in food. For example, 90 percent of hormones are destroyed during pasteurization of milk. The rest of the hormones are broken down during digestion. In fact, there are no differences between milk produced by hormone-treated and untreated cows according to FDA studies.

Agricultural hormone use has been found safe by scientists all over the world. Residue levels of hormones in food have been demonstrated to be safe and well below any level that would have a known effect in humans, according to FDA. In fact, The Center for Veterinary Medicine has confirmed that 1 pound of farmed beef from cattle given a common hormone, estradiol, contains 15,000 times less estradiol than the estrogen produced daily by the average man and 9 million times less than that produced by a pregnant woman.

But, what about chicken? It’s not uncommon to hear how chicken breasts are much larger than they once were. However, that has nothing to do with hormones. In fact, federal regulations don’t allow hormones to be used in poultry production. The same goes for swine. So there is no need to be concerned about added hormones in your chicken and pork. So why are chicken breasts bigger these days? The size of chicken breasts is due to a combination of advancements in genetics, feed and other production practices.

It’s OK to have questions about food and farming, especially when there is a ton of conflicting information. If you ever have questions, we are happy to provide a farmer’s perspective. We’ll never tell you how or what to eat, but we’ll help you gain the information needed to make smart choices about what to feed your family. For more research-based information regarding hormones, check out the food facts page at findourcommonground.com.

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