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Note to Journalists :
South African Feedlot Association
 
The SA Feedlot Association is an umbrella organisation that addresses collective interests of the South African Feedlot industry which collectively markets close to 80% of the total beef production in South Africa.
 
Following the recent deregulation of the South African Meat Industry, a number of the larger feedlots have now vertically integrated into processing, wholesaling and even retailing their own quality beef products.  For more information go to www.safeedlot.co.za.
 
FOOT-AND-MOUTH DISEASE
 
Ms Thoko Didiza, Minister of Agriculture, announced on 31 May in Parliament, that the OIE declared South Africa free of Foot-and-Mouth disease.
 
THE HORMONE MYTH
 
"How safe is our Beef" is a topic of media attention which increases or decreases according to issues and incidents in the world beef industries.
 
Very rarely are either the media or consumers at large, sufficiently knowledgeable to make any kind of intelligent judgement on potential foodborne hazards and their stance on the subject is traditionally emotional and void of any scientific substantiation while falling prey to eloquent food fear-mongers.
 
As stated by Dr. Dixie Le, Governor of Washington State 1989, "despite all the evidence of our physical wellbeing - beyond the dreams of all previous generations - we seem to have become a nation of easily-frightened people.  Perhaps we can be classified as the healthiest hypochondriacs in the world."
 
The use of anabolic steroids in animal production to enhance the well-being of animals while maximising feed efficiency is one such perceived hazard which warrants objective comment.
 
The growth of all tissue body parts is under the direct control of hormones,  They are found everywhere in the animal kingdom and are secreted and consumed by man and animal daily in varying amounts.
 
1.  HORMONES IN FOOD
 
Vegetables contribute close to 90% of all compounds with hormonal activity ingested in man's diet.
 
Vegetables contain specific phyto hormones which are also found in fodder consumed by domestic animals.
 
Phyto hormones with an ostrogenic activity are also found in natural vegetable products consumed daily by man, for example, potatoes, cherries, apples, cabbage, beans and hops used in the preparation of beer as well as in soya and sunflower oils.
 
Interestingly enough, beer contains more than ten times the hormone level of beef which means that eleven steaks of 300 grams each will have the same amount of hormones as a 340ml can of beer.
 
It is also interesting to compare the levels of hormones in beef with some other commonly used "natural" foodstuffs, specifically comparing 500 grams of product.
 
Equivalent amounts :
 
Soyabean Oil: 1 000 000 ng /500g
Cabbage: 12 000
Wheat germ: 2 000
Peas: 2 000
Eggs: 7 500
Ice cream: 3 000
Milk: 65
Beef from non-implanted cattle: 8
Beef from implanted cattle 11
 
2. NATURALLY OCCURRING ESTROGEN IN HUMANS
It is worthy of note to compare estrogen levels in healthy humans :
Pregnant woman:: 900 000 000 ng / 500g
Non-pregnant woman : 5 000 000
Adult man 100 000
Pre-puberal children 40 000
 
3. HORMONES IN ANIMAL PRODUCTION
 
Hormones are used by livestock producers to increase lean meat production and to improve the efficiency of conversion of feed energy to lean meat.
 
When they are used, it is only done on the recommendation of a specialist veterinary physician and the withdrawal periods prescribed by the manufacturers are always allowed before the cattle are sent to the abattoir.
 
Five hormones have been approved for use in beef production by our Registrar under Act 36 of 1947, after many years of extensive local and international trials and human safety tests were presented.  These are estradiol, progresterone and testosterone, which are the natural hormones and two synthetic hormones, zeranol and trenbalone acetate.  Studies in the US indicate that any increase above the natural level of these naturally-occurring hormones in implanted cattle is so minute it is insignificant and residues from an implant cannot be differentiated from naturally-occurring hormone levels.
 
The US Food and Drug Administration - one of the strictest human health safety organisation throughout the world - has approved the use of properly administered hormonal implants for beef production.
Implant safety is also implied by the fact that in 40 years of application, no safety problem has ever arisen.
 
4. "NORMALLY PRODUCED BEEF" vs "NATURAL BEEF:
 
Advertising strategies around "Natural Beef" have been structured to convince consumers that "Normally Produced Beef" is unhealthy and inferior while the "natural" product is from an "uncontaminated, pure" background which raises concerns in the consumers' minds regarding the safety and healthiness of normal beef.  Studies conducted by the centre for Red Meat Safety found that it is highly unlikely that there is any difference in the presence of harmful chemical residues between "normal beef" and "natural beef".
 
5. EU HORMONE BAN
 
The "Hormone Ban" is one of the better known non-tariff barriers implemented by a country to protect its domestic market.
 
The "Hormone Ban" implemented by EU member countries is often cited as being scientifically based proof of the "dangers" involved in consuming hormone treated products.
 
It is a well-established fact that the whole "Hormone Ban" issue was for two reasons :
 
  • To prevent EU producers contributing even more to their over-production of beef and adding larger volumes to the large Intervention Stockpile to keep US Beef exports out.
  • The banning of US Hormone Beef was taken to the International Court and the European community lost its case with the conclusion that there were no scientific grounds whatsoever to substantiate the EU claim that beef ex-America was a hormone health hazard.
 
It was concluded that the attempts to ban US hormone-implanted beef were not based on any scientific evidence whatsoever and the US has been granted commensurate trade relief.
 
6. SUMMARY
 
1. Growth hormones occur naturally in all animals and humans.
.
2. Growth hormones occur in higher levels in other food products classed as natural and wholesome.
 
3. The following prominent agencies renowned for their concern for human food safety concluded that growth hormones used in beef production pose no safety risk to humans consuming the beef.
 
  • US Food and Drug Administration
  • World Health Organisation (WHO)
  • Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)
  • Codex Alimentarius
  • European Economic Community (EEC)
  • Scientific working Group on Anabolic Agents (1981)
  • European Community (EC) Scientific conference on Growth Promotion in Meat Production (1995)
 
One can only conclude that any fears relative to risk to human health because of implantation of hormones in beef production units are totally unfounded.
 
 1 April 2011.
 
Precautions against Foot and Mouth Disease Introduction into Feedlots
 
  1. Feedlot. 
Erect an entrance sign:
Attention.
Bio Security Area
No Unauthorized Access By Vehicle or Pedestrian.
(English, Afrikaans and local vernacular language).
 
Disinfect all vehicle wheels on entry to feedlot area.
Products to use include
·         Gluteraldehyde
·         Vinegar 70% solution
·         Sodium Bicarbinate 4% solution
Explain to all employees the threats of an outbreak.
Limit access by Visitors and Vehicles. Visitors should be seen by appointment only to avoid people just arriving at the feedlot
All visitors to go to reception before entering the feedlot. Must fill in form confirming they have not been in FMD area
No visitors to have any access to livestock whatsoever.
No farmers, auctioneers, student groups or other feedlot visitors.
No visitor who has been in KZN in the last seven (7) days.
All visiting feedlot consultants to wear protective clothing supplied by feedlot.
 
  1. Purchasing. 
Avoid KZN north of N3 and east of N11.
Avoid auction sales bordering KZN.
Purchase only animals that are branded (can be traced). Producers must certify ownership and verify that cattle were longer than 30 days on the premises
Request auctioneers to state before sale that animals do not originate from KZN.
Do not purchase any animals vaccinated against foot and mouth and that are branded KF on the right hand side of the neck
 
  1. Transport. 
Avoid use of contractors.
Disinfect all trucks, own and contractors, before calves are loaded.
Ensure trucks follow direct route to feedlot.
No strangers to be transported on trucks.
Disinfect trucks returning from abattoirs.
 
  1. Reception. 
Keep new arrivals separate, initially between 7 - 10 days. Incubation period is 2-6 days
Ensure all purchases can be traced to source.
Inspect each calf at processing for clinical symptoms.
Clinical signs will include:
·         Excessive salivation
·         More or less round blisters on the dental pad followed by the tongue and gums
·         Blisters and sores may occur in the nose and on the muzzle, teats , skin of the udder and coronet and between the hooves
Report suspect cases and quarantine immediately to consulting Veterinarian.
 
  1. Feed. 
Avoid hay bales from KZN region north of N3 and east of N11.
Avoid second hand feed bags especially jute bags.
 
  1. Surveillance. 
Request your Veterinarian to demonstrate to all feedlot staff how and where to identify clinical symptoms.
All animals entering hospitals to be inspected for symptoms. Any suspect case must be isolated together with any in contact animals immediately and the state veterinarian informed as well as your consultant/veterinarian
Sterilize the person`s clothes if any contact was made.
 
 
 
 
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