Posts Tagged ‘food supply’

Steroid usage by baseball players and other athletes has been all the media rage in the last few years. Jose Canseco released his book entitled “Juiced,” where he told his story of anabolic steroid use and other players that he personally witnessed being injected with steroids and human growth hormone. Americans were up in arms about the messages that it sends to today’s youth who are looking to become professional athletes. Baseball and other sports were thrown for a loop on records and titles that were given to individuals and teams that used steroids, should they be taken away? is it fair? what to do for the future of the sport?, etc. Personally, it’s a no brainer issue….steroids are illegal in sports, users should be ejected from the league, no pay out, blah, blah, blah, but it is never this simple and I am really not interested in debating the issue of steroids in sports.
What does intrigue me is the media attention that this got and yet, everyday, our food supply is injected with hormones, which then we eat if we are not careful about our purchasing decisions. Estradiol, progesterone, testosterone, zeranol, trenbolone acetate, and melengestrol acetate are the six hormones that are legal for use in food production in the United States. Where was Canseco on that one? Now, I realize, there are multiple books that detail the hormone usage in our food supply, however, Americans average a 3rd grade reading level. I am not sure they could read, let alone comprehend, the “Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan, which is a highly recommended read, but above the average Americans’ reading level. I am aware that this issue is all over the internet, some wacky sources and some reliable scholarly sites, but it is absent from the everyday media. I rarely see nightly news coverage on the hormone usage in our food supply, a newspaper or People magazine article entailing such. Now, I have theories on why this might be, but I won’t voice them here as I am now probably being watched by the likes of Monsanto and Phillip Morris.
I am not going to go over all these “legal” hormones that are used in food production, injected into cows to produce more milk, injected into chickens to produce more eggs, injected into chickens, pigs, and cattle to gain weight and produce more meat. I don’t need to. Most people can do the math…inject hormones into animals and that means the meat, eggs, and milk will also contain those hormones…it’s not rocket science. The first three hormones listed, estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone, are all sex hormones. Could this be the reason that females are reaching puberty at a younger age? I don’t know for certain, but kind of makes sense, doesn’t it? Could our obesity epidemic have a little to do with this? Maybe, but I am not certain. Could this be the reason for increase in cancers over the years? Maybe, but again, I am not certain. These hormones probably are not the only reason for such phenomena, but could be a likely attribute.
Now, what to do? Well, I am definite that Major League Baseball is not going to do much about the hormones used in our food supply. And, I am pretty sure the government isn’t either, and if they even thought about it, there would be protesters in the streets with signs that America is turning “socialist” and “I have a right to have hormones in my food”, “don’t kill corporate America”, and other ridiculous responses. And, honestly, we don’t have to wait for anyone to regulate this. We, as consumers, have purchasing power. But, unfortunately, these hormone laden foods’ prices are kept low by our tax dollars. But, isn’t your health more important? You have a vote with every dollar you spend on food. I don’t expect that everyone has enough income to buy all organic, but when you can, use your purchasing power to buy organic eggs, milk, and meat, and better yet, buy them from local sources. Most of our local farmers may not be “certified organic,” but that isn’t because they don’t use organic methods, it’s more likely because its costs a lot to have this certification. Ask your local farmers how they produce the food and they will probably invite you to their farm. So, the way I see it is that we have two options:  We can either wait for “America’s War on Hormones” or start using our purchasing power to tell these big companies that we do not want hormones in our foods by buying organic, and better yet, local.

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