Are You Getting Enough Growth Hormone With That Burger?

Are You Getting Enough Growth Hormone With That Burger?

by Victoria Simpson

McDonalds’s has announced this year that it plans to source only chicken raised without antibiotics important to human medicine by 2017 and to offer low-fat white milk and fat-free chocolate milk from cows that have not been treated with the artificial growth hormone, rbST.

Everything is good news, and especially the bit about rbST.

RbST is generally given to dairy cows to increase milk production, and it comes from four large pharmaceutical companies, Monsanto, American Cyanamid, Eli Lilly, and Upjohn, who developed commercial rBST products and submitted them to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval.


The World Health Organization currently states that milk from cows treated with the growth hormone is safe for humans to consume, but with a ban on it in Argentina, and the fact that it has not been allowed on the market in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Israel or the European Union since 2000, evidence of safety seems debatable.

For cows, their health is definitely better without ingesting rbST. Unfortunately, bovines consuming rbST experience 25% more clinical mastitis, they have a 40% reduction in fertility and also a 55% increased risk of developing clinical signs of lameness.

But McDonald’s changing its attitude towards what’s acceptable will help some conditions.

The mega-company is also incorporating other health and environment changes as it announced that it will no longer serve eggs from caged chickens.


Over the next 10 years, the chain says it will transition its nearly 16,000 restaurants in the U.S and Canada to serve cage-free eggs to customers.

“Our customers are increasingly interested in knowing more about their food and where it comes from,” said McDonald’s USA President Mike Andres.  “Our decision to source only cage-free eggs reinforces the focus we’re placing on food quality and our menu to meet what consumers truly want.”

According to riseports, McDonald’s purchases over 2 billion eggs each year to serve in Canada and the U.S alone.

So, good on McDonald’s. The chickens can run around a bit more and the cows can get a bit of their bodies back. There is always more we can do, but I’m sure the animals are going to say a big thank you, even if they can’t be heard.

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