Hormone Growth Promotants in Meat
Implantation of HGP in meat- is a highly controversial issue not only in New Zealand but also around the world. There is also many myths and misconceptions surrounding added HPG’s in the meat that we consume. In this report I will be discussing the effects of HGP in meat, the opinions for and against this procedure and also my own personal stance and proposed societal action.
Hormones are certain chemicals that are naturally present in all organisms. These hormones are heavily involved in an organisms body functions and are essential for reproduction, development and growth. (a1) Hormones ability to stimulate growth is the reason that they are implanted in meat. These hormones are called HGP which stands for Hormone Growth Promotants. “An HGP is any veterinary medicine containing either natural of synthetic hormones sold for the purpose of increasing muscle tone, growth rate, weight gain or feed efficiently of animals”. (a2) There are five main hormones that have been approved by the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) to be used in meat implantation. These hormones are three naturally occurring ones which are Estradiol, progesterone and testosterone and two synthetic hormones which are zeranol and trenbolone acetate which mimic estradiol and testosterone. Estradiol, progesterone and zeranol are Estrogenic which means that they affect female characteristics. Testosterone and Trenbolone are androgenic which refers to hormones affecting the characteristics of males. (a3) When hormones in meat are considered many think of poultry growth being stimulated by hormones (E.g in chicken breasts). However, contrary to common belief the implantation of HGPs are banned in all poultry production by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry(a5). Hormones in chicken has been banned in New Zealand for many decades and also in many western countries around the world. The outbreak of breast enlargement in males in Milan 1977 was thought to be linked to hormones in chicken stimulating the growth through consumption, however this was never proven. The public fears were also fueled by a misinformed World Health Organization plea to ban all hormones being administered to poultry used for human consumption. It was reported that 80% of the population believed that Chickens grow fast artificially. This belief is completely false with chicken being 100% hormone free and all meat is regularly tested for the presence of hormones in case they are being administered illegally. One reason that chickens are thought to be grown artificially is because of their increase in size over the last 40 years. However this increase in size is due to the development of selective breeding where the birds of desirable characteristic are bred to promote stronger breeds. (a4). Many products stipulate that the chicken is “hormone-free”. This is not differentiating them from another product that is adding hormones, it is rather stating industry-wide policy. It is not company policy, it is industry policy. (a5) Now we have established that HGP are NOT present in poultry or implanted in the meat in anyway, what meat does contain added HGPs. Beef is the only meat that has been approved to be implanted with HGPs and produced for human consumption and for the purpose of this report I will use the hormone implantation of cattle as my primary example of this process.
Growth promoting hormones help to stimulate growth by increasing the efficiency in which feed is converted to muscle. These hormones supplement their natural hormones and improve growth rates by allowing the animal to produce more muscle and less fat. This produces a better quality and leaner meat. The FDA has only approved one place of implantations and that is under the skin on the back of the cattle’s ear. It is illegal to implant the edible muscle tissue as this would cause dangerously high hormone concentrations in the meat that is being...