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the Shocking Truth About Meat

The meat, dairy products, fish, and eggs on supermarket shelves today are loaded with bacteria, antibiotics, dioxins, hormones, and a host of other toxins that can cause serious health problems in humans. Every time you eat animal products, you are ingesting known carcinogens, bacteria, and other contaminants that can accumulate in your body and remain there for years.

Eating animal products contaminated with bacteria can cause food poisoning, which can result in symptoms ranging from stomach cramps and diarrhea to organ failure and death. Every year in the U.S., there are 75 million cases of food poisoning, and 5,000 of these cases are fatal.1 The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that 70 percent of food poisoning is caused by contaminated animal flesh.2

The antibiotics that we depend on to treat these illnesses are being used to promote rapid growth in animals and to prevent them from dying from the diseases that are rampant on factory farms. The effect of consuming low levels of antibiotics during a lifetime is unknown but could be serious. One of the antibiotics that we do know about contains significant amounts of the most carcinogenic form of arsenic, and USDA researchers have found that “[e]ating 2 ounces of chicken per day—the equivalent of a third to a half of a boneless breast—exposes a consumer to 3 to 5 micrograms of inorganic arsenic, the element’s most toxic form.”3 Daily exposure to low doses of arsenic can cause cancer, dementia, neurological problems, and other ailments in humans.4,5

More immediately, this abuse of pharmaceuticals has spurred the evolution of new strains of antibiotic-resistant super-bacteria. Studies have found that most of the meat on grocery store shelves today is contaminated with these bacteria, which cannot be killed with conventional antibiotics. For example, scientists at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health recently reported that 96 percent of Tyson chicken flesh in one sample was contaminated with dangerous antibiotic-resistant campylobacter bacteria.6 If you eat meat tainted with these super-germs and fall ill, many antibiotics that doctors rely on to treat sickness will be useless.

Antibiotics aren’t the only chemicals used to promote growth in farmed animals—the cattle industry also doses cows with hormones to make them grow larger and produce more milk than they would naturally. The use of hormones to promote growth in animals used for food has been banned for many years in Europe, and scientists have clearly shown that the hormones used in cows can cause disrupted development and cancer in humans.7 Despite these findings, farmers in America continue to dose cows with powerful hormones that can make humans sick.

If the bacteria, hormones, and arsenic don’t take their toll in the short term, the build-up of dioxins from animal products could cause serious health problems in the long run. Dioxins are chemicals that are released into the environment when substances are burned, and they accumulate in the flesh and milk of animals. These chemicals are present in our environment in small doses, but according to leading scientists and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), nearly 95 percent of our dioxin exposure comes in the concentrated form of red meat, fish, and dairy products, because when we eat animal products, the dioxin that animals have built up in their bodies is absorbed into our own.

A powerful hormone-disrupting chemical, dioxin binds to a cell and modifies its functioning, causing a wide range of effects, including cancer, depressed immune response, nervous system disorders, miscarriages, and birth deformities.8,9 Researchers at the EPA have found that people who consume even small amounts of dioxin from meat and dairy products have an extra one in 100 risk of suffering from cancer—solely as a result of their dioxin consumption and on top of all other risks.

Animal flesh, eggs, and milk are also often laced with other toxins that have been shown to harm human health, including pesticides, mercury, and PCBs. The late renowned pediatrician Dr. Benjamin Spock, who was a vocal advocate of vegan diets for adults and children, explained, “Another good reason for getting your nutrition from plant sources is that animals tend to concentrate pesticides and other chemicals in their meat and milk. … Plant foods have much less contamination!
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