STANFORD UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF EARTH SCIENCES - EARTH SYSTEMS PROGRAM

Sustainable Choices

Antibiotic & Hormone Free Meat & Dairy

Simplicity:
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Carbon Impact:
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Money Savings:
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Health Helper:
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Overview
Shopping for meat and dairy products that contain no antibiotics or growth hormones is a winner for your health and the environment. Because of crowding, stress-inducing conditions, and unnatural diets that often occur in the conventional meat and dairy industries, antibiotics are needed to fend off disease. In addition to antibiotics, animals are also given growth hormones— to stimulate year-round high production of milk, for instance. It is estimated that as much as 80-90% of all antibiotics given to humans and animals are not fully digested or broken down and eventually pass through the body and enter the environment intact through wastewater and runoff. When bacteria in the environment interact with these antibiotics, they may transform into more resistant strains that pose a greater risk to both animals and humans. By choosing hormone-free and antibiotic-free meat and dairy products, you can help keep the environment clean and healthy.

Tips & Tricks
Look for antibiotic and hormone-free meat and dairy products at your supermarket. If they don’t have it, ask them to carry it. Foods that carry the “USDA-certified organic” label cannot contain any artificial hormones.

Buy directly from the farmer. This is the best way to be sure there are no hormones or antibiotics in your food.

Web & Print Resources
Find antibiotic and hormone-free farms near you:
www.eatwellguide.org

Overview of antibiotics in our food system:
www.sustainabletable.org/issues/antibiotics/

Antibiotics information and resources:
www.factoryfarm.org/topics/antibiotics/

Hormone information and resources:
www.sustainabletable.org/issues/hormones/

Fun Facts

The use of antibiotics in livestock agriculture accounts for 84% of total antimicrobial use in America. Source

The growth hormone rBGH increases per-cow milk yield 10–15%. Source