Hormones in Beef


Are you concerned about the amount of hormones that are in the beef you eat? A common misconception about modern beef is that it is riddled with ‘evil’ hormones. While many feedlots do use hormone implants to quicken the growth of their cattle, it’s very surprising how little the  implant changes the hormone content of the animal. It could also be argued since the use of hormone implants require less resources (feed, water, time) to produce the finished product it is actually more sustainable to use implants in cattle. We don’t implant our cattle on the ranch, but I think it is important to educate about them anyway. It’s also important to remember that ALL living beings have hormones. I often see food marketed as “hormone free” – that is a lie. Everything has hormones!

The below table is from: Food and Drug Administration; Hoffman and Evers; Scanga et al.; FSIS-USDA; Dr. Harlan Ritchie, Michigan State University; NCBA

Food (3-Ounce Servings)              Estrogen (in nanograms)

Soybean Oil                                                  168,000,000

Milk                                                                   11

Potatoes                                                         225

Peas                                                                   340

 Ice Cream                                                     520

Wheat Germ                                               3,400

Beef (no supplemental hormone)    1.3 

Beef (with supplemental hormone)   1.9

Basically what this table is saying is that you need to eat 3,000 lbs of implanted beef to equal the amount of hormones in one birth control pill. It’s nice to have perspective.



Filed under Ag, food

5 Responses to Hormones in Beef

  1. A video that covers the same thing.

  2. Always amazing to know plants have more estrogen. Amazing.

  3. Great post! Will be forwarding this one on for sure, never knew how little “Evil devastating mustache twirling” hormones were in beef.

  4. I don’t want to eat beef from cattle raised with growth stimulants (added hormones, antibiotics, beta agonists/Optaflexx) but it’s for reasons other than food safety. (Personal/moral, impact on flavor/texture, to name a few). But this is a very interesting perspective!

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