In 2002 the FDA banned the use of select hormones in the growth of meat to be consumed by humans. Synthetic hormones were banned while naturally occurring hormones, like estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone, remained legal to help animals grow slightly larger. Synthetic hormones like trenbolone acetate, zeranol, and melengestrol acetate (MGA) were banned because they do not metabolize as quickly. Furthermore, the FDA requires testing to make sure that the added naturally occurring hormones are kept at a safe level.
There is, however, continued concern surrounding the hormones allowed for use in US meat production. The FDA’s regulation of hormones is considerably looser than the regulation by the EU, and this has led to an ongoing trade disagreement, following the EU’s ban on importing US hormonal beef in 1989. The concern with the current regulation is that it does not go far enough to prevent the potentially harmful effects of even the naturally occurring hormones on human consumers of the meat products. More recently, a group of public health researchers, headed by Dr. Samuel Epstein of the University of Chicago, again called for a ban of hormonal meat.
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