/ Hormones in Meat

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what the hex on 17 Mar 2019

In the US, 80% of cattle is injected with hormones which reportedly leads to health issues. I don't understand how, in a free market, these practices go on with this sort of info about their detrimental effects out there. Why aren't people just buying organic (even if it costs a bit more). Dog food is cheaper than tinned casserole and I know which one I prefer.

https://www.livestrong.com/article/464430-are-hormones-in-meat-affecting-humans 

Edit: I prefer casserole.

Post edited at 13:43
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Ron Rees Davies - on 17 Mar 2019
In reply to what the hex:

> Dog food is cheaper than tinned casserole and I know which one I prefer.

You really think there's a difference?

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Lusk - on 17 Mar 2019
In reply to what the hex:

If any of these stories about hormone saturated meat and chlorinated chickens coming in from the USA have any semblance of truth, I just won't buy any of it.  I usually try and buy British meat products anyway, which I have some idea of how it's been raised/treated.

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what the hex on 17 Mar 2019
In reply to Ron Rees Davies:

I assumed there'd be laxer health and safety laws in the production of pet food?

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Luke90 on 17 Mar 2019
In reply to what the hex:

> I don't understand how, in a free market, these practices go on with this sort of info about their detrimental effects out there.

Well, the info you've presented in that link is a little thin on detail and evidence. Lots of problems are hinted at or suggested but they all have clauses in the sentence to dissociate the author from any actual claims ("...have all been blamed on", "Opponents to hormone use suggest...").

The claimed link between hormone use in meat and the increasingly early onset of puberty strikes me as particularly dubious since, as far as I'm aware, the changes in puberty onset are also occurring in countries that don't allow the same hormone use as the US.

Ultimately, I think non-evidence-based scare stories like this are part of the problem. If people listened to every diet suggestion, there'd be no good options left so we end up in a position where people are forced to ignore almost everything they hear and it will be increasingly difficult to get people to listen to genuinely important advice.

Edit: My point is not that we shouldn't have any concerns about hormone use in meat, it's that if people are going to write about such issues they should do so responsibly, which means presenting clear evidence-based arguments with appropriate sources to backup their claims. These issues are important and that means the conversations about them need to be rooted in rationality. Every overstated claim of danger that isn't backed up by evidence makes it easier for the food industry to wave away the real evidence as well.

Post edited at 14:04
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what the hex on 17 Mar 2019
In reply to Luke90:

> Ultimately, I think non-evidence-based scare stories like this are part of the problem. If people listened to every diet suggestion, there'd be no good options left so we end up in a position where people are forced to ignore almost everything they hear and it will be increasingly difficult to get people to listen to genuinely important advice.

> Edit: My point is not that we shouldn't have any concerns about hormone use in meat, it's that if people are going to write about such issues they should do so responsibly, which means presenting clear evidence-based arguments with appropriate sources to backup their claims. These issues are important and that means the conversations about them need to be rooted in rationality. Every overstated claim of danger that isn't backed up by evidence makes it easier for the food industry to wave away the real evidence as well.

This article is thin on the ground for references to scientific studies but it makes some astounding claims, I've never heard of before. Do you think they've invented them? Conversely, have you seen an article that proves the safety of this technology?

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Offwidth - on 17 Mar 2019
In reply to what the hex:

An interesting topic more about history and politics than real science.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beef_hormone_controversy

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SouthernSteve on 17 Mar 2019
In reply to what the hex:

One of the reference for that article is from a dubious site (a 'natural medicine' site). There is no evidence presented there that the earlier onset of puberty is due to hormones in meat and is likely simply be because they are better fed. I would look at the scientific literature although there is nothing absolute that I could find on a quick search ( e.g. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3834504/)

When I was young Diethylstilbestrol (DES) was still being used. This has now been banned (interestingly the US banned this before we did). It is a synthetic oestrogen and is easily absorbed by the oral route and so the dose in food is relatively higher than current products. This is some of the background to the current concerns. 

I am glad that the EU banned these products and hope that this ban continues to be in place in the UK. However, it should be remembered that the contraceptive pill contributes enough oestrogen in water to affect fish and we are all producing oestrogen ourselves as well as eating these in some plant foods such as soy.

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Offwidth - on 17 Mar 2019

In reply to Oceanrower:

How exactly do female hormones turn you into a cliched young man?

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felt - on 17 Mar 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

He's a Trojan.

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what the hex on 17 Mar 2019

Not for the first time, it seems I’ve been hoodwinked by clickbait / echochamber material so I’m sorry for disseminating it. It is interesting however that there is no clear consensus in the following discussion about whether this meat is definitely dangerous or not. Although part of me is reminded of the early years of smoking (early 20th Century) when it was even reported to be good for you. I guess the jury is still out on this one.

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Fozzy on 17 Mar 2019
In reply to what the hex:

Buy British meat from your local butcher then. If that means you eat less meat (as we now do) then so be it. 

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BnB - on 17 Mar 2019
In reply to Lusk:

> If any of these stories about hormone saturated meat and chlorinated chickens coming in from the USA have any semblance of truth, I just won't buy any of it.  I usually try and buy British meat products anyway, which I have some idea of how it's been raised/treated.

Do you buy salads from your local supermarket that are "washed and ready to eat"? Yes, you guessed it, they're washed in chlorinated water.

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Tom V - on 17 Mar 2019
In reply to BnB:

I genuinely wonder whether a chlorine washed chicken is worse than one that's so potentially full of bacteria that it's not safe to wash it in the kitchen.

( I realise that even chlorine doesn't get rid of all bacteria, just more than exists on the chickens we buy in the UK. I also am aware that one reason against chlorine washing is that it might allow poorer standards earlier in the slaughtering process. But in terms of the edible poultry product on your chopping board I cant see why a rinse in chlorine is any different, as you  say, from the  fruit and veg which already undergo this process before we eat them)

Post edited at 20:32
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Luke90 on 17 Mar 2019
In reply to BnB:

I think the controversy over chlorine-washed chicken is often misunderstood. Nobody, as far as I'm aware, is suggesting that the chlorine-washing itself is particularly harmful. The case against chlorine-washing is that it's a lazy shortcut which can be used to cover up for poor hygiene practices at other stages of the process. The EU's higher standards mean that chlorine-washing isn't necessary.

http://theconversation.com/chlorine-washed-chicken-qanda-food-safety-expert-explains-why-us-poultry-is-banned-in-the-eu-81921

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timjones - on 18 Mar 2019
In reply to Tom V:

The issue with chlorine washing is all about avoiding double standard's.

If we ask.our producers to work to high standards should we allow cheaper imports that use practices designed to compensate for lower standarda?

The question "should we export our conscience?" will become very important as we negotiate trade deals after Brexit?

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summo on 18 Mar 2019
In reply to Luke90:

> I think the controversy over chlorine-washed chicken is often misunderstood. Nobody, as far as I'm aware, is suggesting that the chlorine-washing itself is particularly harmful. The case against chlorine-washing is that it's a lazy shortcut which can be used to cover up for poor hygiene practices at other stages of the process. The EU's higher standards mean .....

You are right, but sadly the volume of bacteria on chicken and the packaging isn't great in the eu either. But that doesn't mean standards should be lowered. Better to aim high. 

I don't think they actually chlorine wash now, they use other disinfectants instead. 

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Dax H - on 18 Mar 2019
In reply to what the hex:

> I assumed there'd be laxer health and safety laws in the production of pet food?

I don't know if it's still the case but 20 years ago one of my customers made pet food, I have never seen such a clean and clinical place and bear in mind I still go to lots of human food factories now and work on the potable water supply at all levels from the river intake to the pipes that go direct to houses. 

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Tom V - on 18 Mar 2019
In reply to summo:

I agree about our standards. If they were so high there wouldn't be government advice telling us not to wash chicken because of the danger of spreading bacteria. 

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summo on 18 Mar 2019
In reply to Dax H:

While the composition might not appeal, I think there are rules that pet food has to be safe for human consumption, or equal standards etc. 

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Pete Pozman - on 18 Mar 2019

In reply to Oceanrower:

> Scientists are getting  increasingly worried about female hormones in beer.

> It's true. After 8 pints I can't drive and start talking bollocks!

Yeah but you're still a real man 

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Pete Pozman - on 18 Mar 2019
In reply to what the hex:

When they've washed the chicken where does the waste water go. And what do they do with the slurry that comes out of hormoned cattle?

It's a bit disgusting really isn't it? 

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john arran - on 18 Mar 2019
In reply to Pete Pozman:

I have a bright pink t-shirt - with a beer brand emblazoned on the back. Confused or what?

Actually it's my favourite t-shirt

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Dax H - on 21:07 Mon
In reply to summo:

In my experience pet food is more stringent than human food. 

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Dax H - on 21:14 Mon
In reply to Pete Pozman:

Chlorine evaporates from water if left open to the atmosphere, according to Google its a 20 to 50ppm concentration (normal tap water is up to 5ppm) so not that bad really.  Lots of slurry these days is sent for digestion, it has very high calorific values so why not use it for energy generation. 

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Pete Pozman - on 22:30 Mon
In reply to Dax H:

Thanks for that. I'm totally reassured 

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summo on 05:43 Tue
In reply to Dax H:

> Chlorine evaporates from water if left open to the atmosphere, according to Google its a 20 to 50ppm concentration (normal tap water is up to 5ppm) so not that bad really.  Lots of slurry these days is sent for digestion, it has very high calorific values so why not use it for energy generation. 

It's interesting how chlorinated chicken is now the poster child of evil USA food. Those deadly chemicals.

But then people seem happy to use chemicals to clean all the surfaces in their kitchen and bathroom, then spray chemicals in the air to make it smell clean or use scented candles. 

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john arran - on 06:22 Tue
In reply to summo:

 The problem is not the sticking plaster itself but the need to apply it.

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summo on 06:28 Tue
In reply to john arran:

>  The problem is not the sticking plaster itself but the need to apply it.

Of course and as I said chicken and their packaging in Europe isn't really any better. These are naturally occurring bacteria, trying to sterilize life is a little futile. 

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Duncan Bourne - on 06:47 Tue
In reply to what the hex:

Aside from the arguments about the negative effects of hormones etc...

>  I don't understand how, in a free market, these practices go on with this sort of info about their detrimental effects out there.

In answer money. One only has to look at the past practices of the tobacco industry, lead in petrol https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-40593353

and others.

>Why aren't people just buying organic (even if it costs a bit more).

Which ranks alongside Marie antoinette's apocryphal comment about letting the poor eat cake. People on low incomes go for lowest cost

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summo on 06:50 Tue
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

People want protecting from chlorine and hormones..  perhaps smoking should be banned too? 

Ps. I'm against hormones in animal feed. 

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SouthernSteve on 06:52 Tue
In reply to summo:

Re: cleaners 

And bleach use in the home has been linked to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other respiratory problems (⅓ more risk)

Post edited at 06:55
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john arran - on 07:08 Tue
In reply to summo:

>  trying to sterilize life is a little futile. 

Agree with that. But trying to prevent the need for such heavy chemical use, by acting to prevent situations in which chickens are forced to crap all over each other, may be somewhat more worthwhile.

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summo on 07:11 Tue
In reply to SouthernSteve:

> Re: cleaners 

> And bleach use in the home has been linked to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other respiratory problems (⅓ more risk)

I know we don't use any anti bacterial type stuff or bleaches. Don't think they help septic tank processes either. Also, no stupid plug in squirty air fresheners. 

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summo on 07:13 Tue
In reply to john arran:

> >  trying to sterilize life is a little futile. 

> Agree with that. But trying to prevent the need for such heavy chemical use, by acting to prevent situations in which chickens are forced to crap all over each other, may be somewhat more worthwhile.

You hit the nail on the head. Housing and husbandry. 

If public wants whole chickens for £2 something has to give. 

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DubyaJamesDubya - on 07:44 Tue
In reply to summo:

> Of course and as I said chicken and their packaging in Europe isn't really any better. These are naturally occurring bacteria, trying to sterilize life is a little futile. 

Interesting debate on this on R4 in response to the the US ambassador's assertion that they had the 'highest food stds in the world'

They got their stats guy in to fact check the statement and he concluded that 'taken as a whole' he was correct that US food stds were comparably good as anywhere but in regard to chicken you'd be 10 times more likely to get food poisoning from chicken in the US, than in the UK, and greater than 10 times more likely to die from it.

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summo on 07:50 Tue
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

> Interesting debate on this on R4 in response to the the US ambassador's assertion that they had the 'highest food stds in the world'

> They got their stats guy in to fact check the statement and he concluded that 'taken as a whole' he was correct that US food stds were comparably good as anywhere but in regard to chicken you'd be 10 times more likely to get food poisoning from chicken in the US, than in the UK, and greater than 10 times more likely to die from it.

I'm not doubting it. But the risk exists here, you can't see it, so you treat all raw chicken as though it is contaminated anyway. The solution is really wholesale global improvements in how they are reared. 

Chlorine, the UK are happy to swim in it because the pre pool changing routine in the UK, allows unwashed bodies into the water. This morning some school kids will be floundering in the water swallowing very minute concentrations of it. But there is an out cry over anything else cleaned with chlorine. 

Selective standards for the same chemical. 

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Tom V - on 07:54 Tue
In reply to summo:

Is there an outcry about fruit and veg prewashed in chlorine? I haven't seen much of a fuss about it.

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summo on 08:00 Tue
In reply to Tom V:

> Is there an outcry about fruit and veg prewashed in chlorine? I haven't seen much of a fuss about it.

Strangely enough most strains of bacteria on fruit etc aren't a problem, might be something to do with the fact apples don't shit on each other.

And the fact that it's sprayed several times with pesticides to remove any risk of ever finding a live caterpillar on your lettuce etc.. some of us slightly older folk probably often did in our youth. 

Ps. Unless it's sealed in a skin I rinse all fruit and veg.

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Doug on 09:45 Tue
In reply to summo:

> And the fact that it's sprayed several times with pesticides to remove any risk of ever finding a live caterpillar on your lettuce etc.. some of us slightly older folk probably often did in our youth. 

We buy most of our salads from one of the local markets, usually from local market gardeners and frequently find 'wildlife' when we wash the salad, along with soil. But that's in France so maybe different i the UK

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Tom V - on 09:51 Tue
In reply to summo:

I meant that prewashed salads, for instance, have been given a chlorine rinse, despite their bacteria content being no problem. Yet they don' t evoke the same public revulsion as chlorine washed chicken.

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DubyaJamesDubya - on 10:37 Tue
In reply to summo:

> I'm not doubting it. But the risk exists here, you can't see it, so you treat all raw chicken as though it is contaminated anyway. The solution is really wholesale global improvements in how they are reared. 

> Chlorine, the UK are happy to swim in it because the pre pool changing routine in the UK, allows unwashed bodies into the water. This morning some school kids will be floundering in the water swallowing very minute concentrations of it. But there is an out cry over anything else cleaned with chlorine. 

> Selective standards for the same chemical. 

But as mentioned above, by others(and in the R4 article I heard), the washing of chicken in chlorine is not an issue. It is the poor stds that are allowed because the washing is seen as a fix-all.

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DubyaJamesDubya - on 10:41 Tue
In reply to Tom V:

> I meant that prewashed salads, for instance, have been given a chlorine rinse, despite their bacteria content being no problem. Yet they don' t evoke the same public revulsion as chlorine washed chicken.

The 'outcry' against the chlorine washing of chicken has become confused because people are aware it is a 'bad thing' but don't understand why. The washing of chicken in chlorine is not an issue. It is the poor stds that are allowed because the washing is seen as a fix-all.

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Offwidth - on 11:22 Tue
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

Apocryphal indeed (albeit not as badly maligning as for Canute who was trying to prove even kings can't stop tides). Food writing standards eh?

https://www.britannica.com/story/did-marie-antoinette-really-say-let-them-eat-cake

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Tom V - on 11:31 Tue
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

As I said on Saturday, a chlorine washed chicken on your chopping board is no unhealthier than a EU produced chicken(it might actually be a bit safer) but the misunderstanding about this is beneficial to one side of the Brexit debate and so often goes unchallenged.

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DubyaJamesDubya - on 14:16 Tue
In reply to Tom V:

> As I said on Saturday, a chlorine washed chicken on your chopping board is no unhealthier than a EU produced chicken(it might actually be a bit safer) but the misunderstanding about this is beneficial to one side of the Brexit debate and so often goes unchallenged.

Except that it isn't so if the stats I quoted above (R4 stat) are correct. That's before we get into the conditions the animals are kept in.

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Roadrunner6 - on 14:30 Tue
In reply to what the hex:

You have money.. for some hormones in meat is such a minor issue. In many areas there are food deserts, with very little fresh produce available for miles.

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Duncan Bourne - on 16:12 Tue
In reply to summo:

I did say aside from the hormones argument

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Duncan Bourne - on 16:17 Tue
In reply to Offwidth:

From your link:

"The first person to put the specific phrase “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche” into print may have been the French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau."

Which I found interesting as one of my ancestors met Rousseau when he stayed at Wootton in Staffordshire. He looked after his horse and acted as a sort of low brow companion to the philosopher

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