Speak Up is a series of blogs where CommonGround volunteers from all over the U.S. speak up to answer questions from consumers.

Should you be worried about hormones levels in your milk? Laura Nielson, a CommonGround volunteer and dairy farmer from Crooks, South Dakota, shares her responsibility to raise healthy and safe milk for us and our children in this video:

 Hormones Facts

  • Should I be concerned about hormones in milk?
    • According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and FDA, you should not worry about hormones in your food. With milk, pasteurization destroys 90 percent of hormones. The rest of the hormones are broken down during digestion. No differences exist between milk produced by hormone-treated and untreated cows, according to FDA studies.
    • Part of FDA’s food safety evaluation is to ensure milk from hormone-treated cows is safe for human food.
  • Should I be concerned about hormones in farmed meat?
    • Agricultural hormone use has been found safe by scientists all over the world. Residue levels of hormones in food have been demonstrated to be safe and well below any level that would have a known effect in humans, according to FDA.
    • The Center for Veterinary Medicine has confirmed that 1 pound of farmed beef from cattle given a common hormone, estradiol, contains 15,000 times less estradiol than the estrogen produced daily by the average man and 9 million times less than that produced by a pregnant woman.
  • Why are hormones given to livestock?
    • Growth hormones are sometimes used in meat and dairy production to safely increase milk output per cow and produce leaner meat products more efficiently.
    • Bovine somatotropin (BST) serves as a protein hormone that is produced naturally by cows to help them make milk. A minority of dairy farmers, about 15 percent of farms, use small amounts of synthetic BST to increase the milk production of their cows. The American Medical Association has said BST does not harm cows or alter the nutritional value of the milk.
  • Are hormones in meat and dairy products leading to early puberty in our kids?
    • A report published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association states girls enter puberty today at younger ages than they did 30 years ago. But the reasons why remain unclear. Some scientists believe that childhood obesity may lead to earlier onset of puberty. But no research shows that milk or dairy products play a role in early puberty. Unfortunately, girls today drink less milk than their mothers did. FDA has concluded that milk produced by hormone-treated and untreated cows proves to be exactly the same.
  • Are chicken breasts bigger now because of hormones given to chickens?
    • Federal regulations allow hormones to be used on cattle and sheep, but not on poultry or hogs, so there are no added hormones in chicken.
    • The size of chicken breasts is due to a combination of advancements in genetics, feed and other production practices.

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