The truth about hor­mones, an­tibi­otics, and beef

The Drumheller Mail - - AGRICULTURE & FARM - Sub­mit­ted

Did you know that all Cana­dian beef is an­tibi­otic free? Or that the dif­fer­ence in hor­mone lev­els in a serv­ing of beef from cat­tle raised with hor­mone im­plants ver­sus with­out is less than one nanogram (ng) – 1.9 ng ver­sus 1.1 ng, re­spec­tively? A nanogram is one bil­lionth of a gram.

The amount of es­tro­gen from one serv­ing of cab­bage is equal to the same amount of es­tro­gen from over 1,000 serv­ings of beef pro­duced us­ing hor­mone im­plants. Com­pared to some other plant and pro­tein sources, beef has the low­est amount of es­tro­gen per 75 g serv­ing (Canada’s Food Guide rec­om­mended serv­ing size). Com­pare those amounts to the amount of es­tro­gen pro­duced by your body ev­ery day. An av­er­age adult fe­male pro­duces around 480,000 ng while an av­er­age adult male pro­duces 136,000 ng, daily.

Health Canada and the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion and the United Na­tions all con­clude that the use of hor­mones is a prac­tice that can be con­tin­ued with­out harm to hu­man health.

The use of hor­mone im­plants means fewer en­vi­ron­men­tal re­sources are used in beef pro­duc­tion. In Cana- da, we use 24 per­cent less land than we did twenty years ago. If we were to re­turn to 1950s tech­nol­ogy, while main­tain­ing cur­rent pro­duc­tion rates, we would need 11 per­cent more feed, four per­cent more wa­ter, seven per­cent more fuel, and pro­duce 14 per­cent more green­house gases. The re­sult of in­creas­ing ef­fi­cien­cies means fewer re­sources with smaller im­pacts on the en­vi­ron­ment – and your gro­cery bill.

All Cana­dian beef is an­tibi­otic free. Prior to pro­cess­ing, cat­tle must wait a spec­i­fied with­drawal time af­ter the last treat­ment of an­tibi­otics to en­sure no residue is left in the beef. The Cana­dian Food In­spec­tion Agency reg­u­larly tests prod­uct for an­tibi­otic residue, with the lat­est re­sults show­ing over 99.9% of beef tested free from an­tibi­otic residues. If residues are found, the beef is re­moved from the food sup­ply.

An­tibi­otics are used to en­sure an­i­mal wel­fare. Pro­vid­ing care to sick cat­tle, in­clud­ing us­ing an­tibi­otics when ap­pro­pri­ate, is the hu­mane thing to do. It is of­ten bet­ter for the an­i­mals to be treated with an­tibi­otics through feed rather than be­ing sub­jected to the stress that can be caused from re­peated han­dling to give in­jec­tions. Pre­vent­ing in­fec­tion can re­duce the need to use more pow­er­ful an­tibi­otics if a dis­ease be­comes more se­ri­ous.

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