What’s the Beef? M&Ms and Hormones

Author: Kristy

Posted on  by Kassi Williams

I recently had the pleasure of meeting up with Joan Ruskamp. Joan and her family farm and feed cattle near Dodge, Nebraska. Joan also is a Common Ground volunteer spending time talking with consumers about agriculture issues and their food concerns.

One of the concerns she hears from consumers is that their meat is full of hormones. While all food contains hormones of some type, she found that explaining the differing levels using scientific terms, like nanograms, only caused greater confusion. So, Joan came up with a great visual aid that any American can relate to – M&Ms.

As you can see in the photo, Joan carefully measured each pint jar of M&M’s so they represent the amount of nanograms found in different kinds of food and in the human body naturally in comparison to the amount found in beef.

In the pint jar furthest to the right, is a sixth of an M&M. This sliver of an M&M represents the amount of hormones found in a 3 oz serving of beef which have received an implant.

In the two middle pint jars, are the amount of hormones found in 3 oz serving of potatoes with about 20 M&Ms and a jar showing the hormones in peas containing a few more M&Ms.

The pint jar on the left end, which is full of M&Ms, showcases the amount found in a 3 oz serving of cabbage.

“When consumers compare the amount of hormones in nanograms and see that beef contains a very small portion – it becomes a non-issue for them,” said Ruskamp. “Then when they learn that in a man or women’s body normally there are 13 pints of M&Ms worth of hormones naturally in their body. And in a woman who is able to have children, her body naturally contains 178 pints of M&Ms or about 23 gallons worth…

…It becomes an issue that they can now relate to and understand the quantity to see how insignificant the amount in beef is, and they accept that fact that hormones are naturally occurring, thus not an issue for me and how I purchase my meat.” READ MORE

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