Cattle supplements and cattle feed aren’t always what you think.
It’s no secret that meat producers want cattle to achieve a hefty slaughter weight as fast as possible. In addition to hormone and antibiotic injections, the Animal League Defense Fund says the cattle industry supplements natural cow food (grass) with corn, soy, gummy bears, cookies, candy in wrappers, candy sprinkles, hot chocolate mix, Fruit Loops, taco shells, refried beans, orange peels, peanut pellets, stale bakery goods in wrappers, rancid restaurant waste, expired dairy and eggs, beer, fish meal, chicken meal, and even chicken poop.
According to Michael Pollan, a Berkeley professor, food journalist, and cow owner, “Cows raised on grass simply take longer to reach slaughter weight than cows raised on a richer diet, and the modern meat industry has devoted itself to shortening a beef calf’s allotted time on earth.”
An estimated 7.4 pounds of supplement equals an extra pound gain.
The problem, according to certified integrative nutrition coach Connie Rogers, is that many of the cattle supplemental feeds are not healthy for cows or consumers.
“Chicken waste, for example, can contain a number of disease-causing bacteria, dead rodents, viruses, antibiotics and heavy metals such as mercury,” says Rogers, author of Path To a Healthy Mind & Body. “Contamination from animals fed toxic waste products is a path for pathogens to enter our body, causing over 5 million illnesses in the U.S. every year.”
Those illnesses passed on to humans from what cows eat may include everything from mad cow disease and E. coli contamination to tumors, allergies, obesity-related health issues, hyperactivity in children, and disruption of normal endocrine system function.
Skating on Skittles
Following an odd incident earlier this year linking Skittles to cows, red flags are being thrown again regarding how supplemental cattle food impacts the meat we eat and milk we drink.The Skittles story that sparked the recent round of criticism of the cattle and dairy industry, surfaced in January 2017 when police officers stumbled across hundreds of thousands of red skittles scattered across a rural highway in Wisconsin frozen to the road.
The sheriff’s department launched an investigation and learned that the red candy fell off a truck while being transported to a cattle ranch.
Officers noted that the candy was missing the Skittles logo, but recognized it by its distinct fruity smell. Mars, Skittles’ parent company, confirmed that the candy belonged to them. However, the specific plant the candy was taken from denied selling candy to cattle farmers. Mars company representative Denise Young said the Skittles were supposed to be destroyed because a power outage prevented the signature “S” from being placed on the candies.
According to Fortune, the practice of feeding candies to cows dates back several decades. In 2012, when the Midwest suffered its worst drought in 50 years, the price of corn spiked. Looking for a cheaper way to provide carbs for their cattle, farmers turned to candy. CNN reported that cattle farmers were blending traditional forms of cattle feed like hay with nontraditional (junk) foods. Cattle soon began feasting on chocolate bars, gummy worms, ice cream sprinkles, marshmallows and bits of hard candy.
Cattle Supplements: Is Junk food Any Better For Cows Than People?
Farmers and livestock-nutritionists claim that candy-mixed cattle feed is as equally nutritious as corn. This of course doesn’t say much for corn, most of which is doused with neonicitinoids and genetically modified.
Skittles and other candies are made with a variety of chemicals, including the infamous Red 40, according to an ingredient list by Fooducate. Red 40 causes allergic reactions in some people, says the Center for Science. It is also linked to hyperactivity in children and immune system tumors in mice. Additionally, Red 40 contains p-Cresidine. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests p-Cresidine is “reasonably anticipated” to be a human carcinogen.
Then there’s the possible link between the supplement process that goes into fattening cows contributing to human obesity and its related illnesses. According to a report by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), sales of antibiotics used in pigs, chicken, cows, and seafood rose 20 percent between 2009 and 2013. About 32.6 million pounds of antibiotics are used on animals. Not only has this practice contributed to the rise of antibiotic resistance, more than 100 studies suggest that the antibiotics used to fatten animals also fatten humans.
There’s also the issue of why has corn become so expensive that farmers have no other recourse except to feed their cattle junk food? Look no further than Monsanto and its monopoly of genetically engineered (GE) crops.
More than 90 percent of all corn acreage in the U.S. is used to grow genetically engineered (GE) crops. Corn is used to produce several ingredients for processed foods and drinks. This includes high-fructose corn syrup and cornstarch. But the majority of genetically modified (GM) corn grown around the world is used to feed livestock. According to Food Democracy Now, the introduction of GE crops has corresponded with increasing monopolization of seed by biotechnology companies and higher seed costs.
Farm To Fork Fallout
In 1997, the FDA banned the feeding of beef or bone meal made from cows – to cows. Federal officials insisted this was one of the nation’s best defenses against bovine spongiform encephalopathy, better known as mad cow disease. And in January, medical grade antibiotic supplements were banned. But government agencies have done little over the years to monitor the health effects from cattle supplements and feed.
“We eat to nourish and feed our 50 trillion+ cells,” says Rogers. “Our microbiome is the seed for health and the seed for illnesses. Ingesting an animal tainted with toxic waste that has been forced to become sicker and fatter before slaughter, is, of course, less nutritious to humans.”
Critics are especially displeased with the FDA’s lack of concern over the practice of feeding cows poultry litter — the filthy stuff scraped off the floor of a chicken coop. They believe this can also facilitate the spread of mad cow disease. According to onEarth, a publication of thoughtful environmental issues, Big Ag doesn’t want the FDA banning poultry litter because it’s plentiful, expensive to dispose of by other means, and relatively rich in protein (however disgusting a form that protein may take). “Feeding it to ruminant livestock represents a win-win for beef producers and poultry producers — just not for cows, or for anyone who happens to eat beef and care about its safety.”
E. coli is another concern when ranchers feed their cows sweets, says Dr. Judy Morgan, a veterinarian and holistic vegetarian. The sugar tends to “promote more pathogenic strains of E. coli bacteria by changing the pH of the gut contents.”
These bacteria are passed into the waste and body fluids of the cow. This then often contaminates fruits and vegetables, especially when cow manure is used as a form of fertilizer.
In 2015, Chipotle and its customers suffered an E. coli outbreak. The customers have recovered, but reports show the company has yet to bounce back from the blow.
A Murky Milky Way
The problem isn’t just meat. According to Morgan, toxic milk can also be produced from the plastic wrappers or even plastic feed containers that get ground up with the cattle supplements and feed of milk cows.
“Plastics contain phthalates, which can damage our liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive system,” says Morgan. “The phthalates transmit through the cow into the milk that we drink and give to our children.”
Microbiology professor Holly Ahern says some substances ingested by cows are known to show up in milk, such as the antibiotics and hormones to increase their weight.
“Also, cows that eat leftover high carb food to fatten them produce milk and meat that’s high in pro-inflammatory fatty acids,” Ahern said. “Grass fed animals with limited grain produce milk and meat that’s higher in the (beneficial) omega 3’s.”
In India, milk has a revered place in Indian spiritual life, which is one of the reasons cows are regarded as sacred. Unfortunately, contaminated milk has become a major issue as cow owners have traditionally permitted their cows to wander the streets where they eat garbage including plastics and paper. Tests carried out a few years ago showed that more than 25 percent of 4,500 random milk samples were found to contain detergent, starch, and artificial whitener.
Eat With Confidence! Combat Food Poisoning And Boost Your Immune System With This Powerful Natural Antimicrobial!
7 Ways To Protect Yourself
Given the current anti-regulation sentiment in the Trump administration, you probably can’t expect help from government agencies to curb possible food toxicity. In the words of Rogers:
The Big Industrial/Commercial Industry is not concerned with bringing a healthy product to market. Their concern is the bottom line. So far I have not found where the FDA, USDA, or other agencies speak honestly about food safety.
If you insist on eating beef and drinking commercial mainstream milk versus organic pasture raised grass fed grass raised (not grain finished), you might consider these safeguards:
Probiotics are microorganisms introduced into the body for their beneficial qualities. A proper probiotic can enhance the body’s natural detox and protective capabilities. The body has a natural detox capacity through the liver and protective systems in the mucus layer that is coated with immunoglobulins (antibodies). These systems are controlled by friendly microbes in large part and so enhancing the presence of friendly microbes will prove to offer significant benefit. But be sure to select a probiotic that is guaranteed to survive the gastric system and one that has proven capability to help protect the body from damaging food. Spore-based probiotics like Just Thrive have scientific proof showing a protective effect on the digestive tract.
Where probiotics introduce external bacteria, prebiotics, such as HoneyColony’s Equilibrium Energy Superfood, help support and fertilize already active bacteria in the colon. It’s a little like gardening. Good bacteria thrive on complex carbohydrates (found in prebiotic supplements). Bad bacteria thrive on sugar.
3. Antioxidant Supplements
Antioxidant supplements disarm damaging free radicals. However, not all supplements are equally effective. Natural Doctor combines six unique and important products, each with its own essential function in the body, to give your body all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients it needs for the day-to-day stressors of life. These supplements are formulated based on metabolomic feedback data of blood tests from over 15,000 patients, with various level of deficiencies, low energy, and chronic illness conditions. Metabolomic tests measure over 5,000 “metabolites” in the blood (the result of every single chemical reaction that keeps the human biochemistry healthy).
4. Molecular Hydrogen
This specific antioxidant supplement, such as Hydra, helps battle more than five dozen diseases. It works primarily by reducing oxidative stress, one of the major causes of most lifestyle-related illnesses, cancers, and the aging process. Researchers have produced more than 500 medical studies on the health benefits of molecular hydrogen.
5. Beneficial Foods
Like supplements, certain foods also provide beneficial probiotic microorganisms. Perhaps the best thing you can do to fight off the bad microbes from food toxins is to keep your own gut bacteria as happy as you can. Fermented foods are especially high on the list such as tempeh, miso, sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, kombucha tea, kimchi, and cultured vegetables. Eating fermented foods fortifies your microbiome. The human microbiome is complex and composed of roughly 5,000 different bacterial and fungal species that serve to protect you against pathogens. They can detect the presence of bad bacteria and can gang up against them.
6. Colloidal Silver
Colloidal silver, which is often referred to as a natural antibiotic, has at least 51 researched benefits including anti-inflammatory properties, boosting the immune system, and promoting gut health. Specifically relating to eating filth, colloidal silver’s nanoparticles quickly combat food poisoning, purify water that has germ contaminants, treat traveler’s diarrhea and cholera, and has the ability to prevent salmonella growth. Silver can also inhibit both Hepatitis B & C viruses and has shown promise against hematophagous parasites.
7. Buy Grass Fed, Grass Finished
Before the second World War, All-American beef was “grass-finished,” meaning that cattle ate pasture grass for the duration of their lives. It’s still possible to find grass-fed cattle that have not been pumped up with hormones or antibiotics. Check out Eat Wild, a clearinghouse for information about pasture-based farming. Through its suppliers list you can find the producers in your state who sell grass-fed, grass finished beef products.
Thomas Ropp Longtime journalist Thomas Ropp is an environmental advocate and proponent of living healthier. After spending most of his life in Arizona, he relocated to a Costa Rican rainforest ten years ago and helped with reforestation projects to expand the habitat of the endangered mono titi monkey. He has dual residency in the United States and Costa Rica.
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