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Hormone Analysis in Food
In the mid-1950s, hormones were increasingly administered to cattle in the US and the UK as feed additives. Other types of substances like antibiotics also became available. In general, such treatment has resulted in 10-15% increases in daily gains, similar improvements in FCE (feed conversion efficiency) and improvement of carcass quality (increased lean/fat ratio). Thus there has been a substantial reduction in the amount of energy required per unit weight of protein produced, and the economic implications have led to an increased use of these substances.
In 2002, the EU Scientific Committee on Veterinary Measures relating to Public Health (SCVPH) confirmed that the use of hormones as growth promoters for cattle poses a potential health risk to consumers, following a review of 17 studies and other recent scientific data.
Six growth hormones used in meat production (17ß estradiol, progesterone, testosterone, zeranol, trenbolone acetate and melengestrol acetate) may have endocrine, developmental, immunological, neurobiological, immunotoxic, genotoxic and carcinogenic effects. The evidence is sufficient even though it varies in its conclusiveness and the available data do not allow a quantitative estimate of the risks. They are conceivable even at low doses, and a critical threshold has not yet been established for any of the substances. Estradiol-17ß, for example, has been identified as a complete carcinogen (see also EU Food and Feed Safety).
Due to this intense use and regarding the level of the harmful effects the European Commission banned hormones as growth promoters in livestock-farming. With the Council Directive 96/22/EC and the amending Directive 2003/74EC substances with hormonal action have been prohibited for the use in stock farming.
GALAB Laboratories offer an analytical service for your Quality Management. GALAB developed a methodology to detect hormones in food. We are able to detect levels of Hormones in food down to 2 µg/kg.
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