6.04.2010

Beefing Up Your Meat and Dairy


Cows have a huge role to play in the food industry. Beef and milk are in high demand and sometimes the cows cannot produce enough naturally. That is why many are loaded with antibiotics and hormones; it allows cows to be fattened up to unnatural proportions and milked at unnatural rates. Yet, it is not only the cows who suffer. In 1989, the sale of United States beef was banned from all European nations. The European Economic Community (EEC) instated this ban because they feared the risk to humans that hormonal beef imposed. Milk also contains these hormones but has several other dangers associated with it as well, creating much controversy. Some would argue that we need this type of production to feed all the hungry mouths in a growing population. But consider how this production is uniquely American. Then consider how more Americans are obese than any other nationality in the world. The point being that hormonal beef and milk production is supposedly in the name of feeding the masses, but the health risks aren't worth it when you realize how Americans are already over-eating anyway. Yet again, the food industry is being "beefed up" for purely monetary reasons.

Sex hormones commonly given to US cows are dangerous because many believe they are carcinogenic. It is very similar to what some women experience with taking birth control. It has been proven that the raised estrogen levels from birth control contribute to increased risks of breast cancer. Roy Hertz of the National Cancer Institute warns that people who consume estrogenic (sex hormone infused) meat also have higher risks of cancer. Hertz also believes that no levels of hormonal implants or injections are safe. In light of this research, in January 2010 Samuel Epstein of the Cancer Prevention Coalition filed a petition with the FDA to put a ban on hormonal meat altogether (1).

Currently, The USDA requires that the residual levels of hormones in beef be less than 1% of levels normally found in children. However, this is completely unenforceable. The USDA does not test residue levels and even if they did the hormones that were introduced into a cow's system would be very hard to differentiate from the natural hormones. Therefore, this system is, apparently, on the honor system. Some farmers/ranchers take the time to follow appropriate health standards and use small hormonal implants in their cows; others will inject the hormones directly into the muscle that you'll eventually eat (2). Either way, the production of beef is quite unregulated, though some individuals may follow better safety procedures than others.

Milk is another questionable area of the food industry. If you think that a cow is milked, the milk pasteurized, and that simple liquid is given to you to drink, you're wrong. Here is a list of what is commonly found in your milk AFTER pasteurization:

Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone - This is used to increase the amount of milk a cow can produce. It is directly linked to breast and colon cancer.

Antibiotics - Dairy cows are often in unhealthy and stressed states so a huge amount of antibiotics are used to keep the cows alive while being over-worked. 85 different kinds of antibiotics are used on cow farms but only 4 get tested for by the regulating committee. The FDA estimates that at least half of all milk is laden with pharmaceuticals, and that estimate is most likely a low one.

Blood - Because cows are milked more often than their bodies were designed for, their udders get inflamed and even have sores on them - which break open. The udders commonly bleed directly into the milk. The USDA knows of this problem but only tries to keep the amount of blood cells found in your milk to 1.5 million per milliliter. That's a lot of blood cells!

Pus - Along with the blood often comes pus from infected udders. The national average for the amount of pus found in your milk is 322 million cell-counts per 8-ounce glass. The USDA's "safe" level is only 200 million cell-counts per LITER. Therefore, every state in the US (except Hawaii) produces milk with pus levels way over the limit. Pus is a problem the USDA is aware of, yet the milk is sold to you either way. This is very unhealthy for you and is directly linked to Crohn's Disease.


In light of this information about beef and milk, what can you do to ensure your (and the cow's) safety while consuming these products? One thing you can do is buy more local beef from small farms which do not use hormone implants/injections. Here is an example of a farm that advocates natural, grass-fed cows for your beef: it's called Bar 10 Beef. As far as cow's milk goes, you can try to find local farms that do not use hormones and antibiotics, but you are better off not drinking it at all. Goat, rice, almond, or even hemp milk are quite suitable replacements. If you think drinking goat milk will taste bad or is strange, think about how strange it actually is to drink milk from an animal (cows) whose milk molecules are 10 times larger than the normal milk humans are born to drink. Goat milk is much similar to human milk and more easily digested. Here is an example of a local Utah farm that sells hormone free goat milk and encourages visitors to come see how the animals are treated: it's called Drake's Family Farms. You will notice one of their goals is to teach "respectable and responsible animal agriculture."

Writing about this subject seems to provoke either a strong positive response, or a very strong negative response. While looking through articles of a similar subject, you may notice that response comments are angry; individuals writing these comments claim how wonderful farmers are and how farms pamper the "cute animals". But ask yourself, is this wishful thinking? How many dairy farms have you visited and would you even recognize a problem if there was one? This issue appears to hit a nerve in Americans. After all, who doesn't have fond memories of slogans like "Milk, Does the Body Good" and "Beef, It's What's For Dinner"? If a person were to point out the harm in soda, most people would simply agree (then continue consuming it anyway). But when discussing milk and beef, people react as if you have just insulted their entire way of life and the core principles they believe in... why is that?

Milk especially is consumed rapidly in America and resonates more in our culture than anywhere else. This is not by coincidence. A huge industry has pushed for milk advertising and has engrained within our society the idea that milk is the end all, good for you, strong-bone-making drink that America is built upon. As you can see to the right, they pay large amounts of money to get sexy celebrities to endorse their product. Re-examining this subject and noting the facts will illuminate the real reason behind why we drink so much milk and eat so much beef. Hopefully people can break free of the false conceptions and realize that the joke's on us.

7 comments:

Arthur Gelsinger said...

If people saw what went on in some of these factory farms/slaughterhouses, they'd never buy meat/milk from the supermarket ever again! Obviously, meat/milk consumption itself isn't the main problem - it's the profit-driven overproduction of meat/milk that encourages people to consume unhealthy amounts of it, while at the same time undercutting ranchers who actually provide adequate range, quality feed, and less "efficient" milking/slaughtering methods. It's certainly more expensive to produce meat/dairy products this way, and that cost is passed onto the consumer, for sure, but if the only factor you bother to consider is cheaper prices at the grocery store, then you may need to work on developing your conscience a bit...

Mindbender said...

This is why it's oh so important to eat only organic grass fed beef and drink organic milk. There is a huge difference, most people just don't know it, and because of the cost you eat and drink less of it.

This is also why girls in the seventh grade have huge boobs and enter puberty at a much earlier age.

Great article!!

Jayna said...

Hey thanks for reading and commenting Mindbender.

I think you're exactly right about young girls developing sooner. It is not a random phenomenon, it can be linked to the higher levels of estrogen they receive from milk and beef! Thanks again!

okjimm said...

hmmmmm.... just say, "Moooo..". nice write.

Liberality said...

I did an experiment for a month whereby I did without dairy completely. I am already a vegetarian so I never eat meat. I buy as much organic dairy as I can find and afford. So going dairy free was an experiment just to see if it would make a difference. And WOW, what a difference!!!

I wasn't hungry all the time suddenly. I ate regular meals but I didn't feel "driven" to do so. That tells me that something else is going on with dairy there that I definitely don't like. Why should I be constantly hungry when eating dairy products but not so hungry when I eat only produce, nuts and seeds, and eggs?

Jayna said...

Wow I've never heard that result before Liberality. I guess I've never completely cut out ALL dairy so I'm curious to see if I'd feel the same result, but it definitely sounds suspicious and I wouldn't be surprised if that is an intentional side effect the industry has worked for.

Thanks for reading and commenting!

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