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Q:. Are grass-fed, hormone-free and antibiotic-free beef and poultry nutritionally superior?

Posted February 04, 2015 in Advice Column, Johnston

A: Whether beef is grass-fed or grain-finished, produced using hormones/antibiotics or not, it is all nutritionally comparable. According to the Iowa Beef Industry, “seventy-seven percent of all beef muscle cuts sold at retail are lean,” with seven beef cuts having a Heart-Check mark by the American Heart Association.

Antibiotics are used in animals for the same purpose as humans – to fight bacterial infections. All antibiotics used in animal production are tested and approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). The animal needing an antibiotic is typically withdrawn from the rest for a specific period of time to ensure that when it is put back into the food supply, the antibiotic has cleared from its system.

Growth hormones are also regulated by the FDA and are actually natural hormones produced by the animal and used to improve the rate of growth to keep up with demand. Hormones used in cattle production are typically placed under the skin of the cattle’s ear because the ear does not enter the food supply. Also, despite marketing tactics, hormone use is prohibited in all poultry production. Although a package may not state “no-hormone use,” there are no hormones in any poultry.

Information provided by Missy Anker, Registered Dietitian, Hy-Vee, 5750 Merle Hay Road, Johnston, 270-9045.

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