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Monday, March 7, 2011

Hormone Casserole

I've seen some prevalent advocacy being done by a veterinarian from my home county, Haskell County, Kansas, lately. Dave Sjeklocha (pronounced like "so close ya" almost missed it!) is a DVM at the Haskell County Animal Hospital and I have seen his response to hormone usage in food production to many articles on the internet. This is his response, as a licensed veterinarian, and it has been posted on several parenting sites, the Wall Street Journal, among others.

He breaks down a response to the hormone debate in a way that consumers, like myself, can easily understand! I also trust his break down because he is the veterinarian working with cattle producers to regulate the use of growth-promoting hormones in production. Great job Doc Sjeklocha!!!

  • Hormones: Growth-promoting hormones used in beef production include estrogens, trenbolone acetate (TBA) and melengestrol acetate (MGA, progestin). Estrogens are the most commonly used.
  • Safety: Growth promoting hormones in cattle production have been declared safe by several scientific organizations worldwide. These would include the Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization, the European Commission Agriculture Division and the Codex Committee on Veterinary Residues.
  • Hormone levels: Hormone levels are measured units called nanograms. A nanogram is one billionth of a gram. Three ounces of beef from a steer that was raised with growth promoting hormones contains 1.9 ng of estrogen. Three ounces of beef from a steer that was not raised with growth promoting hormones contains 1.3 ng of estrogen. Three ounce servings of other foods would contain the following levels of estrogen:
    • Soybean oil 168,000,000 ng
    • Milk 11 ng
    • Potatoes 225 ng
    • Ice cream 520 ng
    • The human body naturally produces many hormones. Estrogen is just one of those hormones. Levels of estrogen in the human body would be as follows:
    • Non-pregnant woman 480,000 ng
    • Pregnant woman 3,415,000 ng
    • Man 136,000 ng
    • Male child (pre-pubertal) 41,500 ng
    • Female child (pre-pubertal) 54,000 ng

  • Summary: Growth-promoting hormones used in beef production have been scientifically tested and proven to be safe. When compared to levels in other foods, or to levels naturally occurring in the human body, beef hormone levels are very low. Also, the use of these hormones helps to conserve our natural resources by improving the efficiency of beef production.
I'm making a casserole tonight for dinner that contains: meat, potatoes, corn, green beans, carrots and some milk products. I might just change the name of the recipe because it is clearly a hormone casserole! Now that I have read Doc Sjeklocha's response, I know that it is a naturally occurring hormone in a lot of the foods I eat.

My best,

Tera Rooney

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