- WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GRAINFED AND GRASSFED BEEF?
Grain fed Beef is produced from young cattle that have been raised and tendered under intensive conditions while being fed on nutritious balanced diets for a period of about 120 days. Grass fed Beef is produced generally from older animals raised on either intensive or extensive grazing systems.
- WHAT ARE THE PRODUCTION PARAMETERS OF SA FEEDLOT CATTLE?
- Entry mass: 230 kg
- Exit mass: 460 kg
- Carcase mass: 268 kg
- Average Daily Gain: 1.65 kg
- Feed consumed: 12.5 kg/day
- Water intake/d:
- Summer 55-60lt.
- Winter 40-45lt.
- WHICH CATTLE DO SA FEEDLOTS PREFER?
- Age: male weaner calves between 8-10 months.
- Breeds: Beef breeds and beef breed crosses that have the potential to produce economically a final carcass of 450-470 kg in the A class after at least a 120-day feeding period.
- SUSTAINABLE LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION
- SHOULD ONE BE CONCERNED ABOUT THE USE OF REGISTERED IMPLANTS? (HORMONE MYTH)
How safe are Hormones?
“How safe is our Beef” is a topic of media attention which increases or decreases according to issues and incidents in the world beef industries. Very rarely are either the media or consumers at large, sufficiently knowledgeable to make any kind of intelligent judgement on potential foodborne hazards and their stance on the subject is traditionally emotional and void of any scientific substantiation while falling prey to eloquent food fear-mongers.
As stated by Dr. Dixy Lee Ray, Governor of Washington State, 1981, “despite all the evidence of our physical wellbeing – beyond the dreams of all previous generations – we seem to have become a nation of easily-frightened people. Perhaps we can be classified as the healthiest hypochondriacs in the world.” The use of anabolic steroids in animal production to enhance the well-being of
animals while maximising feed efficiency is one such perceived hazard which warrants objective comment.
The growth of all tissue body parts is under the direct control of hormones, they are found everywhere in the animal kingdom and are secreted and consumed by man and animal daily in varying amounts.
- HORMONES IN FOOD
Vegetables contribute close to 90% of all compounds with hormonal activity ingested in man’s diet. Vegetables contain specific phytohormones which are also found in fodder consumed by domestic animals. Phytohormones with an oestrogenic activity are also found in natural vegetable products consumed daily by man, for example, potatoes, cherries, apples, cabbage, beans and hops used in the preparation of beer as well as in soya and sunflower oils.
Interestingly enough, beer contains more than ten times the hormone level of beef which means that eleven steaks of 300 grams each will have the same amount of hormones as a 340ml can of beef.
It is also interesting to compare the levels of hormones in beef with some other commonly used “natural” foodstuffs, specifically comparing 500 grams of product.
|Soya Bean Oil:||1 000 000 ng /500g|
|Wheat germ:||2 000|
|Ice cream:||3 000|
|Beef from non-implanted cattle:||8|
|Beef from implanted cattle:||11|
- NATURALLY OCCURRING ESTROGEN IN HUMANS
It is worthy of note to compare oestrogen levels in healthy humans:
|Pregnant woman:||900 000 000 ng / 500g|
|Non-pregnant woman:||5 000 000|
|Adult man:||100 000|
|Prepubertal children:||40 000|
- HORMONES IN ANIMAL PRODUCTION
Hormones are used by livestock producers to increase lean meat production and to improve the efficiency of conversion of feed energy to lean meat.
When they are used, it is only done on the recommendation of a specialist veterinary physician and the withdrawal periods prescribed by the manufacturers are always allowed before the cattle are sent to the abattoir.
Five hormones have been approved for use in beef production by our Registrar under Act 36 of 1947, after many years of extensive local and international trials and human safety tests were presented. These are estradiol, progesterone and testosterone, which are the natural hormones and two synthetic hormones, zeranol and trenbolone acetate. Studies in the US indicate that any increase above the natural level of these naturally-occurring hormones in implanted cattle is so minute it is insignificant and residues from an implant cannot be differentiated from naturally-occurring hormone levels.
The US Food and Drug Administration – one of the strictest human health safety organisation throughout the world – has approved the use of properly administered hormonal implants for beef production. Implant safety is also implied by the fact that in 40 years of application, no safety problem has ever arisen.
- “NORMALLY PRODUCED BEEF” vs “NATURAL BEEF:
Advertising strategies around “Natural Beef” have been structured to convince consumers that “Normally Produced Beef” is unhealthy and inferior while the “natural” product is from an “uncontaminated, pure” background which raises concerns in the consumers’ minds regarding the safety and healthiness of normal beef. Studies conducted by the centre for Red Meat Safety found that it is highly unlikely that there is any difference in the presence of harmful chemical residues between “normal beef” and “natural beef”.
- EU HORMONE BAN
- The “Hormone Ban” is one of the better known non-tariff barriers implemented by a country to protect its domestic market.
The “Hormone Ban” implemented by EU member countries is often cited as being scientifically based proof of the “dangers” involved in consuming hormone treated products.
It is a well-established fact that the whole “Hormone Ban” issue was for two reasons:
- To prevent EU producers contributing even more to their over-production of beef and adding larger volumes to the large Intervention Stockpile to keep US Beef exports out.
- The banning of US Hormone Beef was taken to the International Court and the European community lost its case with the conclusion that there were no scientific grounds whatsoever to substantiate the EU claim that beef ex-America was a hormone health hazard.
It was concluded that the attempts to ban US hormone-implanted beef were not based on any scientific evidence whatsoever and the US has been granted commensurate trade relief.
- Growth hormones occur naturally in all animals and humans.
- Growth hormones occur in higher levels in other food products classed as natural and wholesome.
The following prominent agencies renowned for their concern for human food safety concluded that growth hormones used in beef production pose no safety risk to humans consuming the beef.
- US Food and Drug Administration
- World Health Organisation (WHO)
- Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)
- Codex Alimentarius
- European Economic Community (EEC)
- Scientific working Group on Anabolic Agents (1981)
- European Community (EC) Scientific conference on Growth Promotion in Meat Production (1995)
One can only conclude that any fears relative to risk to human health because of implantation of hormones in beef production units are totally unfounded.