The Effects of Hormones and Antibiotics on Our Food Supply


Americans are all about bigness, grandeur, and decadence. We buy in bulk and have our fries “Supersized.” But now, farmers are bulking up our chicken and beefing up our beef before it ever makes its way to your plate. Hormones are being added to the feed that is given to beef cattle, chickens and other livestock to make them more muscular and more pleasing to the slaughter houses. But are these hormones safe, and where do you and your family fit into the equation? Below are examples of hormones and antibiotics that are placed in your beef and some of the concerns that are arriving with this advance in technology.

rBGH: Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone

One example of the hormones that are being placed in your meats is rBGH which stands for recombinant bovine growth hormone. But, believe it or not, this is not used for beefing up the bovine muscles for thicker, juicier meat. This hormone is used in the milk industry. rBGH is suggested to increase a cow’s production of milk by twenty-five percent. This hormone has been approved by the FDA as of 1994. Five to thirty percent of U.S. cows are injected with recombinant bovine growth hormone.

Experts are finding that rBGH is harmful in many different respects. On the one hand, the hormone can often make the cows themselves sick, say some experts. In addition, milk affected by rBGH is chemically different from natural milk. Critics of the practice claim that the milk has high levels of IGF-1, a natural growth hormone that in these crazy doses can increase chances of colon, breast, and prostate cancers.

Antibiotics in Chicken Feed

In addition to growth hormones, many types of food given to livestock contain antibiotics. The main concern that many experts have with using antibiotics in cattle, pigs or chickens is the threat of creating antibiotic resistant bacteria. According to the Organic Consumers Association, bacteria that has become antibiotic resistant can infect humans and create “fatal illnesses” if antibiotics will no longer work against them.

With all of these problems caused by hormones and antibiotics placed in meat and milk producing animals, it is no wonder organic food buying has become so popular.