Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Hormonal Cow


Celia asked: Lee, do you have any thoughts about growth hormones in Australian beef and what they're doing to us?

Well, yes, I have thoughts. Mixed thoughts.

I don't have too many facts, though, as it is a bit outside my experience.

Thoughts, in no particular order:

1. I have a general preference for no additives in food (don't you dare call them 'chemicals' unless you can name one thing on this planet (and beyond) that is not composed of chemicals) however I accept that sometimes additives to food are unavoidable.

2. The Safemeat site suggests that hormones are not harmful but that, while they increase meat yields, they decrease meat tenderness. This site is a joint venture between the meat industry and the Government.

3. Talking to another laboratory that tests HGP (Hormone Growth Promoters), they can only reliably find them in the area surrounding the injection point in the cow's ear. In other parts of the body they are too low to quantify.

4. Like it or not, we must increase our food production to meet the population growth; farmland is decreasing, so per-acre yields must increase. But we eat too much meat per meal, as a rule.

5. There is little evidence available to show that the nature-identical hormones are harmful. I am probably more comfortable with them than I am with the fully synthetic ones.

6. I would favour mandatory labelling.

So, in summary, I don't think they are harmful but would prefer they not be used.

But I am no expert.


  1. Even as a non-expert, I value your scientific opinion and general commonsense on these things greatly, so thank you very much, Lee. :)

  2. And you've been so sweet to title this post after Pete's nickname for me! :)

    Just kidding... ;-)

  3. Pete likes to live dangerously, especially as you seem to be a black-belt with the kichen knives.


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