What Will Food Labels Tell Me About the Hormones Used in the Meat I Buy?

Hormones in animals occur naturally, even when raised organically. All animal products contain some hormones.

Consumers looking for milk and beef raised without the benefit of supplemental hormones need only to look at their food labels. Conventional dairy products are readily available free from rbST or BGH, if consumers choose. And although most beef is considered natural, some companies have gone to the extra step of certifying and labeling natural to mean “no added hormones.” You don’t have to buy organic milk or beef to get a product raised without supplemental hormones.

Many marketers and “experts” often quote misleading information about hormone use in farm animals in the U.S. that creates confusion for consumers. For example, poultry and pork are never given growth hormones yet “natural” and sometimes organic products are often marketed “not grown with hormones.” This can be misleading because their conventional product counterparts also were not grown with supplemental hormones.