What’s In That Veal?

07 Apr 2004

Inspectors from the Agriculture Department’s Food Safety and Inspection Service found hormone implants with five growth hormones not approved for use in calves at two slaughterhouses in Wisconsin. The implants were found in calves from three different lots of cattle, implying this is not an isolated occurrence. The find has led the FDA to warn veal farmers to stop giving hormones to veal.

The hormones in question are the male hormones testosterone and tenbolone and the female hormones progesterone, estradiol and zeranol. The hormones are given to calves to make them gain weight quickly. Dr. Stephen Sundlof, director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, said it is possible that veal eaters ingested the hormones, but the quantity is so small that “you would probably never see anything”.

Dr. Sundlof went on to say he understands that the Agriculture Department will order 10% of veal calves to be tested for the drugs, and both the FDA and the Agriculture Department are investigating to see how widespread the practice is. The FDA has declared that after June 6, no veal calves raised with these hormones can be slaughtered for human consumption.

Source: Associated Press, FDA announcement:
American Veal Association: http://www.vealfarm.com

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