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From the Ground Up - Hormones in Beef


Whether or not hormones should be used in the production of beef has been the subject of debate for years with the United States and Canada on one side of the issue, and the European Union on the other.

At Producers Cooperative’s annual business meeting earlier this month, the featured speaker for the evening attempted to shed some light on the issue. Trent Loos is a rancher and agricultural activist.

“What are you cattlemen putting in the nation’s beef supplies causing these young girls to reach puberty at earlier ages?

Loos was recounting a discussion he’d had with a woman on an airplane.

“If you’re to take a three ounce piece of beef, natural, organic, grass fed, healthy, safe, nutritious, all of those things, but that three ounce serving of beef that’s never had any additional estrogen to the growing animal, will have one point three nine nanograms of estrogen. The same three ounce serving of beef from a conventionally produced steer that’s been administered twice in the growing phase a dose of estrogen, then we’ll have one point eight nine nanograms of estrogen. So one point three nine compared to one point eight nine is that statistically significant?

A nanogram is one billionth of a gram. Loos continued.

“The average garden salad that we eat before we worry about the hormones in the beef, twelve hundred nanograms of estrogen. The average estrogen in the cabbage leaf, two thousand nanograms of estrogen. The average estrogen in a table spoon of soybean oil, twenty eight thousand nanograms of estrogen.”

Loos went on to note that a birth control pill has thirty four thousand nanograms of estrogen.

“Twenty seven countries across the pond, they have the same concern that you do about adulterated food. They don’t allow any beef producers anywhere in the world to send them beef if they’ve ever used any of this nasty estrogen implant. Girls in the European Union are reaching puberty eighteen months before their mothers, 24 months before their grandmothers.”

Studies have shown that girls on both continents today that have a larger percentage of body fat than either their mothers or grandmothers did, go through puberty earlier. Ranchers have known that for years.


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