I'm pretty disturbed about the stuff that I'm reading about milk these days. Dairies are using growth hormones to increase milk production in cows. The FDA says its safe, although several nations have banned the use of these hormones. What's interesting is that the cows that are given these hormones have a 50% higher instance of fetal loss, ovarian cysts, infertility, etc., according to a study by the Center for Food Safety. I just can't imagine none of this would filter down to us.
I don't consume that much milk myself, maybe a 1/2 cup with cereal here and there. But I think about my kids! My 21 mo. old drinks about 24 ounces a day or more. There is a recent news story in Time Magazine about the early onset of puberty of girls in China, with fully developed breasts and vaginal bleeding, even in infants and toddlers. Tainted formula may be to blame, as these children tested for abnormally high hormone levels. While I am sure the standards for food safety are much lower in China, I still can't stop thinking about what the risks are of ingesting even smaller levels of growth hormones here in the US.
I think what really bothers me the most is that I would love to buy organic milk all the time. But at $6.00 a gallon its just not affordable for someone like me who goes through at least 3 gallons a week. Sure, I could buy organic milk at the cost of cutting out something else. But I just think that Americans should be entitled to food and drink that we can trust will be healthy and good for us. I know organic products are more expensive because they are made by smaller operations that aren't subsidized by the government...but it just seems backwards to me!
I finally did bring myself to watch Food, Inc. this past weekend. I was aware of a lot of the issues on a general scale, but not to the extent as described in the movie. I have to say I was profoundly affected by it. Corporate involvement has changed the way we eat, by "engineering" our food in such a way that creates more profit. Feeding chickens hormones that make them grow faster so they can produce more supply, giving them bigger breasts because Americans prefer more white meat. And don't even get me started on the beef. You'll have to watch the movie, or even better yet, read the book if you really want to know the truth. I just want to get back to the basics. My plan will be to grow most of my own vegetables, or support local farmers. The money I save on growing my own can go toward the purchase of organic milk because I just won't buy a cow! I have greatly reduced the meat consumption in our household, partially for financial reasons, partially for health reasons. I would like to find a local farmer that sells beef and poultry. I didn't think there would be so many, but if it interests you, check out this site: Eat Wild to find one near you.
I'm not standing up on a soapbox giving any lectures because I'll be the first to admit I'm not qualified in any way, shape or form. I just think most people don't really realize where the food they eat comes from and how its made. All of us lead very busy lives and probably don't even have time to think about it. Knowledge is power and I just don't think anyone out there would truly prefer NOT to know.
What are your thoughts about chemicals and hormones in our food supply? How do you feel about eating locally grown food?