Ever heard of the drugs oestradiol-17, zeranol, trenbolone acetate and melengestrol acetate? Probably not. That’s because meat producers aren’t required to tell you that these synthetic growth hormones – linked to increased risk of breast and prostate cancers in humans – are routinely injected or implanted into animals raised for meat in the U.S.
The European Commission has banned the use of these drugs in animals raised for human consumption in Europe, and forbids the import of meat containing these hormones from the US. But here in this country? The FDA not only allows these and other antibiotics and hormones to be routinely injected, implanted, or laced into farm or feedlot animals raised for meat, dairy or eggs, but it also doesn’t require meat producers to tell you which drugs they use, or in what quantities.
While GMO labeling has taken center stage this past year in the fight for truth-and-transparency in labeling, there’s another labeling battle looming: the labeling of meat, eggs and dairy products coming out of factory farms. These products routinely contain residues of dangerous antibiotics and hormones. The OCA plans to make the labeling of these products a priority in 2013.
Meanwhile, this week, the Government Accountability Project (GAP) announced it is suing the FDA – that agency that’s supposed to be looking out for public health – because it won’t release detailed information about which antibiotics are being used in what quantities in the animals raised for meat on our grocery shelves. We do know this: 80% of all antibiotics sold in the US are sold for use in animals raised for meat. Why? To make the animals grow faster and survive the hellish conditions in factory farms, or CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations). This means two things. Humans are indirectly consuming these antibiotics and hormones. And, as public health experts have warned repeatedly, the rampant and reckless use of antibiotics on factory farms is making antibiotics less and less effective as cures for diseases that affect humans.
Learn more about hormones in meat
Learn more about antibiotics in meat
Learn more about the FDA’s failure to protect consumers
Read the GAP press release