Hormones

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Should I worry about hormones in my food?

No. Supplemental, or artificial hormones, are FDA regulated and are safe


Organic food and non-organic food all contain natural hormones:

Some farmers use supplemental hormones:

Perspectives

  • Amy Hansmann
    Amy Hansmann

    River Forest, IL

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    About me

    I'm an active, educated, stay-at-home mom who takes an interest in providing healthy food to my family. I'm a regular volunteer at the Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry.

    About my family

    Our family recently expanded with the addition of another son. We now have two boys, 4-year old Keith, and 8-month old Kyle. My whole family loves to sail, and we enjoy the summer season on the water.

    Why I'm touring farms

    I'm concerned about the use of chemicals in farming and how they may affect our health. As for animal products, I am concerned about overall treatment of the animals, drugs used and cleanliness. I am not happy with the increasing amount of processed foods available and look for healthier options. I cook at home most nights of the week, and I'm excited to see for myself what happens on Illinois farms.

    What I hope to see on the farms

    I am most interested in those that raise livestock. I hope to see the way they live, the care they receive and the life cycle on the farm. I am also interested in the science used to combat pests or ailments both with livestock and with crops.

    From a Mom

    I was relieved to get a little more information on the use of hormones in our meat and dairy.

    I think the idea of hormone use gets a bad reputation because honestly it makes you think that cows are being grown to unhealthy proportions, like steroid use in athletes. I learned that some cows are given hormones to improve their daily weight gain (or improve their milk production for Dairy Cows). This is important because it speeds the time to market, therefore reducing production costs and retail cost to the consumer. It also is worth mentioning that there is a related environmental impact of having the cows take longer to market; more grain to grow for feed and more waste to dispose of, in simplistic terms. There is a slight increase in the estrogen levels presented in the beef treated with hormones, but it appears to be such a small amount that to me it is almost insignificant. In treated beef the amount in a serving of beef is 1.9 nanograms. A nanogram is one billionth of a gram so this amount is very small. But what makes it even less significant to me is that untreated beef for the same size serving still has 1.3 nanograms. So without even comparing beef to a vegetable like cabbage that has naturally occurring estrogen, the amount in discussion is only .6 nanograms. Literally this takes me into math that has too many zeros for me really to understand! I think my concern over things being added to my food is probably better spent on preservatives, chemicals, or fats that I know are not good for me.

  • Carrie Pollard
    Carrie Pollard

    Rockford, IL

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    From a Farmer

    All mammals (that includes you, me, as well as the cows and pigs) produce hormones in our bodies. It is part of how our bodies work. That means that things that come from those bodies will contain hormones. They are broken down by our body, just like other things we eat. Just remember to keep things in perspective, vegetables contain hormones too. So, whatever your fancy, you will always get a nutritious, good-for-you glass no matter what jug it is out of. The pick at our house is "Mixed Milk," a white skim and chocolate (1 or 2%) mix, served alongside pork tenderloin!

  • Christa Grabske
    Christa Grabske

    Mount Prospect, IL

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    About Me

    I lived in a rural Illinois town for 11 years while teaching there. My class enjoyed learning experiences offered by the DeKalb County Farm Bureau. Now, I’m a preschool teacher in the Chicago suburbs where I live with my husband and two children.

    Why I'm touring farms

    My farm experiences are limited to hayrides at pumpkin farms. I’d like to spend time on an Illinois farm to find out if family farms still exist and see how important they are to our society. As a mom, I want to know what’s in our meat and dairy products.

    From a Mom

    I was so relieved to find out that our meats do not contain antibiotics, ever! Chicken and pork have no added hormones, and beef has a very small amount-much smaller than the naturally occurring hormones in the plants we eat!

  • Genevieve O’Keefe
    Genevieve O’Keefe

    Grayslake, IL

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    About Me

    Growing up on the near north side of Chicago, I imagined farms as far-off mythical places of no relevance to me. Now I’ve come to realize that agriculture is a necessary part of our economic landscape. Two of my children are homeschoolers, which means lots of hands-on learning and field trips. Some of my favorites include wildlife restoration days at our local forest preserve and visiting Chicago museums.

    Why I'm touring farms

    I want to help others experience the relevance of farming in their daily lives. Some of us only get to see the farm as the product of its work, so I really want to understand more about what life is like for farm families, and how alike or different we might be.

    From a Mom

    The amount of hormones in meat is negligible compared to other products like birth control pills. Hormones help the animals to stay healthy.

    Our beef supply is safe and there are many ways to prepare meat economically for our families.

  • Jennifer Weiss
    Jennifer Weiss

    Chicago, IL

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    About me

    I grew up in Kentucky, and I would love to reconnect with my agricultural heritage and really learn the "ins and outs" of how our food goes from raw materials to finished product at
    our stores.  

    About my family

    My husband and I have two sons, 3-year old Cameron, and 1-year old Michael. We play trains together, go to the park, and attend and serve in our church. Every evening, I usually make a meal from scratch, including meat, fresh vegetables and grains.

    Why I'm touring farms

    I have concerns about the misinformation out there, and whether there is any truth to claims about food additives, antibiotics/hormones, and the organic vs. ordinary debate. I'm interested in knowing where our food comes from, and I want to help set the record straight by listening to the facts straight from the farmers, instead of all the hearsay about how our food is grown, processed and prepared.

    What she hopes to see on the farms

    I am excited to see how the animals grow, how our food is grown, the different aspects of farm life, and learning about the common goals and values we share – as city folk and country folk – as we love and nurture our families.

    From a Mom

    The amount of phytoestrogen in a steer is way, way, millions of nanograms less than even a baked potato! Kinda throws the whole "hormones are horrible" argument in the face of the arguers.

  • Pilar Clark
    Pilar Clark

    Lisle, IL

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    About me

    I'm a long-time writer and social media strategist and work-at-home mom who understands the need for balance and the difficulty of achieving it in everyday life. Seeing my children thrive and grow is like basking in sunshine.

    About my family

    We're a relatively traditional suburban clan, made up of two parents and two children, a 5-year old and a 2-year old. Our family likes to spend time at the local zoos and museums and the beach during the summer, and we look forward to taking our children abroad when they're older to explore their multicultural roots.

    Why I'm touring famrs

    I often wonder who cultivates and raises the foods found in our fridge. What kind of farms does our food come from? What kinds of fertilizers, pest control and hormones are used? Who are the people involved and what are their own family food traditions? Knowing how things go from farm to fridge and hearing from the folks who are deeply vested in their farming traditions would be amazing.

    How I was inspired about food

    I remember eating together as a family, and loved seeing my mom and granny making dinner even though both also worked. It inspired me to start experimenting in the kitchen at a young age with the knowledge that a love of cooking and career could go hand in hand.

    From a Mom

    You would have to eat 2,900 lbs. of (hormone) implanted steer to equal the amount of hormones in birth control pills (example: Beef from a steer treated with estrogen contains 1.9 nanograms – a billionth of a gram – while a girl prior to puberty has 54,000 nanograms of estrogen naturally occurring in her system).

What's your perspective?

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