Lets now take a look at beef and chicken, the following might surprise you and perhaps scare you!
We will begin with beef.
For decades, the meat industry has been producing and processing more meats at an ever quickening pace. This is to meet the high, and ever increasing, demand for the meat we consume each day.
In recent years, these intensive meat farm methods have come under new scrutiny and more people are becoming aware of the unacceptable conditions used to produce the beef, pork, and poultry that have become integral parts of our daily diets.
Most traditionally raised beef calves go from 80 pounds to 1,200 pounds in a period of about 14 months. This is no natural feat. Along with enormous quantities of grain (usually corn) and protein supplements, calves are fed or implanted with various drugs and hormones to, as the beef industry says, “promote efficient growth.”
Any combination of the natural hormones estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone, and the synthetic hormones zeranol and trenbolone acetate may be given to cattle. Another hormone, melengesterol acetate, may also be added to feed to “improve weight gain and feed efficiency.”
Measurable amounts of hormones in traditionally raised beef are transferred to humans, and some scientists believe that human consumption of estrogen from hormone-fed beef can result in cancer, premature puberty and falling sperm counts.
About nine million pounds of antibiotic feed additives are used annually in the cattle-raising process. Many people don’t realize that the largest use of antibiotics in the United States is to feed to animals, often so that they will gain more weight, but also to prevent disease outbreaks that could easily fester since the animals are raised in such crowded conditions.
This routine antibiotic use is contributing to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance in humans. Animals raised in natural environments, not the traditional “factory farms,” rarely require antibiotics. You may be able to find antibiotic-free beef in your local health food store, but be sure to be certain that it is grass-fed as well.
Along with antibiotics, traditionally raised cattle are given various vaccines and other drugs. The following is just one recommended course of care for a whole herd of cattle as shown on Pfizer.com:
- CattleMaster 4+VL5: a 4-way viral plus 5-way leptospirosis vaccine and vibriosis protection
- UltraChoice 8: a vaccine to prevent clostridial diseases
- Dectomax Pour-On or Dectomax Injectable: drugs to prevent and treat internal and external parasites
- ScourGuard 3®(K)/C: a vaccine to prevent calf scours
Some commercial beef is irradiated which means it has been treated with gamma rays produced by the radioactive material, cobalt 60, or electricity to kill bacteria. The effects of long-term consumption of irradiated food products remain to be seen.
This issue is virtually the same issue as with milk. Once milk is pasteurized to “protect” us, it is seriously damaged and actually causes more harm than good for most who drink it. However, if milk is consumed in its real raw form, then it is typically an amazing health-producing food for most who consume it.
If you value your long-term health, I strongly encourage you to avoid irradiated meat. All meats will not be irradiated, so your best bet is to purchase non-irradiated meat.
Many may not be aware that school districts have the option of purchasing irradiated beef for their lunch programs, and parental notification is not required. If you are a parent you can work with your school district to discourage the use of irradiated foods, or at the very least contact them to find out whether irradiated beef is being served in your child’s school cafeteria.
You can also contact your representative and senators today to urge them not to support irradiated food in school lunches.
Alongside the dangers that traditionally raised beef pose to your health are the dangers they pose to your environment. Substantial areas of forests, particularly the rain forests of Central America and the Amazon, are being cleared to make way for cattle. And in the United States, cattle production is a major source of environmental pollution.
Among the most severe problems are water pollution from the nearly 1 billion tons of organic waste produced by cattle each year and the enormous amounts of petro-chemical fertilizers used to produce feed crops, and air pollution–waste and waste treatment methods of grain-fed cattle are responsible for producing a significant portion of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide (the three major gases that are largely responsible for global warming), along with other harmful gasses.
The Way Cattle are Treated:
Traditionally raised cattle are treated as commodities and are deprived of some of the most basic requirements of life–fresh air, space and normal social interaction.
Next Commercial Chicken:
In order to control intestinal parasites, stimulate growth, improve the color of chicken meat and reduce their stress on the commercial farms, producers of commercial chickens tend to feed their chickens with additives that have adverse effects on human health. These feed additives contain the antibiotic arsenic compound known as Roxarsone, which is used to make the chickens healthier in terms of bigger breasts and pinker skin. Roxarsone is believed to cause diseases such as cancer in humans. This is according to research studies published in 2008 in “Environmental Health Perspectives,” an online journal of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and conducted by Dr. Partha Basu, an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Duquesne University.
Since the 1960s, commercial chicken farmers have been using these feed additives to produce the oversized birds, and it has become a common practice throughout this commercial industry. The antibiotic found in chicken feed is used to protect the chickens from illnesses and infections, but it also induces blood vessel growth, which makes the meat appear more succulent. The problem with this is that it can produce abnormal human cell growth as well. This growth leads to the development of cancer cells, according to research done by Dr. Basu et al.
The chickens are raised in crowded and unsanitary farming conditions, which leads them to contract the very illnesses and infections that chicken producers are using these harmful antibiotics to guard against. Unfortunately, these same antibiotics cause abnormal growth results in the chickens and in some cases can cause bacteria mutations and drug resistance in them as well. There is concern that there could be similar effects on humans who consume these chickens for food.
The compounds found in the antibiotics used in chicken feed can cause health problems like cancer in humans, according to Dr. Basu’s research. When an increase in the formation of additional blood vessels occurs, producing their pink pigmentation, it can do the same in humans also by overproducing additional cells. This growth process is called angiogenesis and is found in many cancers and other diseases. Research done by the USDA has also found linkage between the arsenic compound found in chicken and an effect on human cells.
Besides being fed these harmful additives, chickens are also used in the feed for other farm animals such as turkeys and pigs as well. Chicken waste, which is normally used for farm field fertilizers and in commercial fertilizers, may affect water supplies in the ground and on the surface. Scientists are concerned that being constantly exposed to these harmful additives found in commercial chicken feed can potentially lead to cancer for consumers as well as for the commercial chicken farmers.
The antibiotics used in commercial meat and chicken farms are one of the biggest food related health threats to humans. Antibiotics are used just as commonly in farms as they are on humans, but many of the injections given in these crowded farm facilities are used to promote growth rather than prevent disease.
Growth injections have created a great deal of concern. The primary reason is because of evidence of resistant bacteria transmitted from animals to humans, including e.coli and salmonella. Because of the potential danger of these bacteria, growth injections are prohibited in Europe.
Antibiotics used for general disease control in place of sanitary living conditions can create the same resistant strains. Unfortunately, this type of injection is permitted in most intensive farms.
Other dangers include:
- Workers in factory farms often suffer from respiratory complications and other infections due to the unclean conditions.
- Chemical residue from commercial feed, pesticides, and antibiotics can be left in the environment, including water sources, through animal waste.
- Commercial farming practices increase the risk of serious viral outbreaks like foot and mouth disease and bird flu.
How About Lunch Meats? (Including those Hot dogs that everybody loves)
Luncheon meats are convenience foods that may cost you your health and your life. According to the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research, all processed meats, such as hot dogs and bologna, should be limited or even avoided in a healthy recommended diet. Luncheon meat dangers include the use of sodium nitrate or nitrite, are high in salt, high in fat and are too much meat for one’s good health.
Sodium Nitrate or Nitrite
Sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite are preservatives used in the curing process of luncheon meats. It wards off growth of bacteria, such as botulism, and it develops the color and taste of processed meats. However there is much debate surrounding the toxicity of these preservatives. According to the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research, there is a strong link between these preservatives and colorectal cancer. The U.S. Department of Agriculture found that low doses of sodium nitrite may cause acute methemoglobinemia, which is when the hemoglobin can no longer carry oxygen in the blood stream, especially in infants.
Table salt, or sodium chloride, is often found in high quantities in luncheon meats. The USDA warns that too much salt in your diet may lead to high blood pressure and other diseases. It specifically targets processed meats, such as luncheon meats, as high in salt and sodium. Ham, for example, has roughly 1,100 milligrams of salt for about 3 1/2 ounces, while cereal has only about 300 milligrams.
A diet that is low in saturated fat is recommended for healthy living. Luncheon meats are higher in saturated fat and should be limited. Lean meats and fish have less fat than processed meats such as hot dogs and luncheon meats. Unsaturated fats are good for a healthy diet, and those include avocados, nuts and olive oil. Reducing the intake of saturated fats from meats may help prevent heart disease, cancer and type two diabetes.
The World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research recommend diets that limit meat, especially processed meats for overall health. Diets that are higher in plant food reduce cancer risks. Plant foodshave folates and carotenoids that help prevent cancer. For example, garlic protects against rectum and colon cancer, and fruits may prevent cancers of the esophagus, lung and stomach. Eating luncheon meat reduces your intake of vegetables and fruits that are better for your health.
It comes down to commercial meat is not healthy and not safe. You don’t have to be Einstein to see why so many people are so sick with so many illnesses, and the numbers keep rising. If you want to eat meat and chicken, free range or organic is definitely the way to go!