As many have suspected, the meat that we eat today often contains growth hormones and others foreign substances that are not normally found in meat. Cattle owners use growth hormones for a simple goal of increasing their profit. They are under a lot of pressure for delivering a specific amount of usable meat to the distributors, due to the constant and high demand for meat in the modern society. They may have slightly more than a year to get a small 80lbs calf into a huge 1,200lbs cow. Only growth hormones that can help them grow their cattle, so it’s ready for slaughter as soon as possible. The fast pace of growth is also able to reduce the amount of fat in the meat. When meat is processed, more substances are also added. As an example, nitrates is a chemical that can give a healthy-looking color to the meat, as well as helping it to cure properly. The distinctive color of hotdogs is also due to the addition of nitrates in the processing phase.
Estrogen is also able to affect the growth of the poultry and cattle. DES is a man-made estrogen and it’s able to increase the size of cattle relatively quickly. However, DES is believed to be a carcinogenic and in many countries, no longer used to fatten up cattle and poultry. FDA approves a number of hormones that can be used for the production of food, which include natural progesterone and testosterone, as well as the synthetics trenbolone acetate and zeranol. Each type of growth hormone has different effect on each animal. So, if a hormone works for cattle, it may not work well for poultry. A common way of applying hormone to animal is by inserting pellets near the ear. The pellet slowly releases an amount of hormone and it’s removed before the slaughter. Chemicals and hormones will stay in the meat, but it could cause hazard when we consume it regularly. As an example, increased intake of progesterone and steroids may potentially cause accelerated puberty among young girls.
There’s no valid proof that these substances could cause direct health problems in our body and studies showed inconclusive results. Even so, there are concerns nonetheless. Nitrates that are used to give the attractive reddish color on meat products could be converted inside our body into nitrosamines. This substance may enhance the risk of cancer, although there’s still no proof that the use of nitrates in meats is really harmful. In this case, consumers should make a sensible choice of whether they should choose fresh meat or the processed one. It is obviously better if we choose products from organic farms that don’t involve the use of dangerous substances, such as steroids and hormones. Risks can be elevated if cattle are fed grains that are contaminated with pesticides that can be transferred to the meat. A meat product can be considered organic if it contains at least 95 percent of organic ingredients.