Wednesday, May 2, 2012

What to Expect....

Ok, this blog has been in "draft" form for almost 4 months, so I apologize now for the rant you are about to receive.
The Pollard Family is expanding.  That's right, Brent & I are expecting in early September.  So, like many other 1st time expectant mothers, I went out, got "What to Expect When You're Expecting" and proceeded to read my way through 200 pages in the 1st weekend.  At about pg. 115, I got a little frustrated.  I already drink plenty of milk, eat meat for iron, and I knew I needed to do a better job of eating more fruits and vegetables (and my friends will be VERY impressed that I am down to one diet pop a day), but I got upset when I read the sidebar on "Think Organic".  There is no nutritional or safety difference between an organic glass of milk and a "conventional" glass of milk (or meat or anything else).

None, zip, zero, nada

The particular statement that frustrated me was that I should be eating organic food because of the "hormones and antibiotics" in non-organic foods. 
#1 - Hormones.  Virtually all products you eat contain hormones.  That includes the steak I had last night, the glass of milk I drank with it, and the lettuce in the side salad I had alongside.  These foods are derived from a living organism.  Organisms produce hormones in their bodies/cells, and so, it would reason that eating foods from them would also have hormones in them.  Now, there are some products that allow us as farmers to give the animals additional hormones that their body already produces.  At this time, these products are available (meaning:  licensed, tested, cleared for use in) for dairy cows (known as rbst) & beef cattle (known as implants).  First, let me be clear, I will NOT give any product to any animal that I don't feel is safe for that animal, and for anyone that eats it.  (Remember, my freezer is full of beef from our farm, and pork from my parent's, and I work to buy "my" milk.)
In dairy cows, this hormone is already naturally produced by cows, and is naturally-occuring at higher levels in cows that have just given birth.  Giving them additional hormone (only after their initial milk production has dropped off, and only if they are in the right condition to do so, so not every cow is treated), simply recreates this early lactation production.  For some cows, I equate it to "turning on the light bulb".  The cows thinks "Oh, I'm supposed to make milk, well ok", and you can turn a fat, lazy cow that can't produce enough to pay her feed bill, into a productive animal.  This is healthier for the cow.  Oh, and the glass of milk from a treated cow has absolutely no more bst in it than a glass of milk from a cow that has not been treated.  (That is why the labels have to say something like "our farmers pledge not to use rbst" or "from cows not treated with rbst", NOT "bst-free" because all milk contains bst.)  And, please don't go running away from all milk as a result of reading this.  Milk from all mammals contains bst (so, if you were breastfed as a child, you've ingested bst).

#2 - Antibiotics:  There are no antibiotics in meat, milk or eggs that you eat.  Period. 
None, zip, zero, nada.....None
So, every piece of meat you buy in the store could be labeled "Antibiotic-free".  Why is that?
Yes, occasionally, my animals become sick, and occasionally, one of the things I use to treat them with is antibiotics.  We'll try other remedies were possible,  (Who knew powdered sugar is a great remedy to treat pinkeye!) but sometimes, I need medicine to do what is right for the animal in my care.  However, I have to remove a cow's milk from the system when I have treated her, and I can't put it back into the milk supply until she has tested free of antibiotics (we have an at-home tester that allows us to test a cow's milk and know before the next milking whether or not she is clean of antibiotics) .  The same process works for meat animals (including the cows I sell for hamburger).  Each antibiotic has undergone thorough testing to see the length of time the product remains in the animal's body.  This length of time is known as the withdrawal, and is the time that an animal may not be sent for processing.  Meat processing plants check this routinely, and they track animals back to their source (after pulling the meat or batch) and address the concern with the producer.  If a producer gets on the repeat violator list, they aren't allowed to sell food products anymore.  Makes sense to me!
So, rest assured; you shouldn't have to worry about antibiotics in your food. 

With hundreds of sources of information on what I should or should not be doing right now, it's nice to know that I can put these things into the "don't have to worry about" column, and be happy that him/her is doing well at the mid-way ultrasound!

1 comment:

  1. Great article Carrie and congrats to you guys.


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