What’s in Your Beef?

Here’s another OMG article. More Drugs from agribusiness!


Now there’s a performance enhancing drug for beef cattle.


But it didn’t start out as a drug for cattle. The initial developers thought it (Zilpaterol) would help asthma, but it turned out to be useless for asthma.


When folks realized that a similar drug called clenbuterol changes the metabolism to build more muscle instead of fat the World Anti-doping Agency banned it.


But the drug industry rarely gives up on a drug. Researchers then discovered that Zilpaterol converted fat into muscle in cattle. So Merck acquired it and started marketing it to ranchers and feed lots as Zilmax.


Merck advises feeding it to the cattle for 20 (to 40) days just before the beef goes to slaughter, except they’re required to withdraw it from the feed for the last 3 days before slaughter. I suppose that withdrawal period is to allow the drug to be excreted out of the muscle (meat) so people will not be consuming as much of the drug and its metabolites. But there was no explicit answer to why the drug has to be withdrawn for 3 days before slaughter in the research that I found.


But researchers in the European Union discovered that this beef hormone remains in the meat. So they banned it as did Canada, Japan, and Australia.


But in the USA we’re still letting the beef industry use Zilmax despite the studies done on humans using it by its other name zilpaterol. People taking various doses of zilpaterol developed significant increases in blood pressure. As the dose of the drug increased their blood sugar levels increased concomitantly at all dose levels. Some developed tremors at the higher dosage level.


Are questions starting to pop into your mind? What if I have diabetes and my blood sugar levels mysteriously start to climb? Would I have any clue that a “growth stimulant” in the beef I’m eating has contributed to that? One could ask the same questions about an increase in blood pressure. Since the meat industry does not have to label its products disclosing the use of Zilmax, we the consuming public have no awareness of what’s in our beef.


And yes, it is another beef hormone although the meat industry calls it a “growth stimulant” probably because most of us have become aware of the beef growth hormones used in the industry and are trying to avoid beef that was fed rBGH.


And so they find something else to increase their profits. But at what cost to the consumer? We really don’t know at this point.


Has your steak seemed a little tougher and not quite as tasty lately? That’s what Zilmax does to the beef, not as much fat, thus decreasing the taste appeal and making the beef tougher.


Actually Cargill would not buy cattle that had been fed Zilmax for many years because they wanted to maintain the quality of their beef. They did not want to add to the declining consumption of beef. But as more and more cattle growers and feed lots used Zilmax even Cargill finally gave into the pressure and recently started accepting beef grown with Zilmax.


Tyson Foods, JBS SA, and National Beef Packing Company have been using the Zilmax produced beef for years. Along with Cargill these companies produce 84% of the beef in the USA.


So am I against eating beef?


No, I like beef.


But I would suggest buying your beef from a local rancher who raises it without hormones including without Zilmax and who feeds the cattle naturally on organic grass pastures. Grass-fed beef contains an important omega-3 fat, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) that you won’t find in corn-fed beef.


Also, just as I recommend about any food, eat small portions of beef and don’t eat it every day, maybe only once or twice per week.


Enjoy your beef but be aware of how it was raised and what drugs it was fed.

Dr. Jo


About Dr. Jo

Dr. JoDr. Jo delights in sharing the message of health. She believes disease is optional if you know how to take care of yourself. And she’s a great coach to help you reverse or prevent disease.

So she writes this blog to keep you up to date with information that may undermine your health if you are not aware of it. She also provides tips on healthy living, how to reverse degenerative diseases, delicious recipes, and ways to enjoyably change your habits to healthy ones.

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