Russians call for ban on hormone use in meat

By Vladislav Vorotnikov

- Last updated on GMT

Hormones are used as growth promoters in some countries
Hormones are used as growth promoters in some countries

Related tags: Livestock

Russian scientists from several universities in St Petersburg have suggested that international livestock producers should urgently abandon the use of hormones in order to produce healthier meat products.

According to them, this is necessary because the current use of hormones may increase the risk of cancer, already indirectly confirmed in several studies.

“The human body contains about 600 different hormones. In a healthy body, they are balanced, and each one is responsible for specific functions. But when more [hormones] come from the outside, an organism confrontation begins,”​ claimed scientists at the department of animal nutrition in St Petersburg’s Academy of Veterinary Medicine.

“The aggressive prevailing hormones literally destroy those that remain in the minority. This affects the work of the mitochondria that are in the cells of living organisms and are responsible for the production of energy. One after the other, cells die or mutate, sometimes turning into cancerous tumours,”​ they added.

Health problems

The scientists noted that the consumption of meat with excessive hormone levels may also lead to some changes in mental health. In particular, men who consume meat with hormones risk growing breasts and bellies, as well as seeing a reduction in hair and a change in personality to become more sensitive and nervous, they claimed.

The experts also said that meat produced from livestock that have been given hormones could be particularly dangerous for some people.

“The use of additional hormonal methods for growing farm animals and poultry adversely affects human health. At the highest risk are children, pregnant and lactating women, as well as the elderly,”​ commented Professor Victor Zakrevskii, head of the Department of Food Hygiene at the Medical University named after Mechnikov in St Petersburg.

Fight against hormones

Russia has already started to fight against hormones, banning meat containing ractopamine last year. Experts believe this is only the beginning. Zakrevskii added that, in many countries, the use of antibiotics and hormonal agents in animals is prohibited by law.

“Russia is following the same path. Soon, we may introduce new restrictions on the use of hormonal additives in animal husbandry, although the majority of hormones are still not prohibited in Russia,”​ said Zakrevskii.

Related topics: Industry & Markets, EU, Russia, Livestock

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