Ban Use of Cancer-Linked Growth Hormone in Beef

Target: Dr. Margaret Hamburg, Commissioner of the FDA and Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture (USDA)

Goal: Ban the use of cancer causing hormone in livestock.

Zeranol is widely and routinely given to cattle in the United States despite studies that demonstrate its harmful effects in humans and recommendations against the practice by groups including The Breast Cancer Fund. Furthermore, companies are currently not forced to disclose their use of Zeranol by labeling their products. Zeranol is used to increase the animal’s growth in a shorter amount of time than occurs naturally. This practice allows livestock companies to produce more beef at a faster rate, therefore maximizing profits. While their profit margins are expanding, however, consumers are unwittingly eating meat that could potentially give them cancer.

Zeranol is a synthetic estrogenic chemical that mimics the naturally occurring hormone estradiol and a carcinogen called diethylstilbestrol (DES). When zeranol is introduced to human breast cells in the laboratory, the cells grow much more quickly and produce cancerous enzymes. This type of abnormal growth has even been detected in cells that were given zeranol at rates 30 times lower than FDA-approved standards. The chemical has also been linked to precocious puberty in young girls, further heightening their risk for developing breast cancer later in life.

It is this type of evidence that motivated the European Economic Community (EEC) and other countries to ban the importation of meat and milk from the United States in 1989. Not only does scientific evidence demonstrate the harmful effects of zeranol in the food supply, but the use of such chemicals is largely unregulated by the FDA and USDA. The USDA does not test meat products for hormonal residue levels, nor does it regulate the amounts administered to cows or the methods in which it is given. Neither the FDA nor the USDA has required companies to tell consumers if their meat has been given such harmful chemicals. It is clear that the companies care less about the wellbeing of their consumers and animals and care more about their bottom line.

By signing the petition below, you will join others in demanding that the FDA and USDA protect consumers by banning the cancer-causing chemical zeranol in U.S. meat.


Dear Dr. Margaret Hamburg and Tom Vilsack,

The administration of Zeranol and other growth promoters to U.S. livestock is unacceptable given the scientific evidence that demonstrates links between their usage in livestock and cancer in humans. Laboratory studies show that when zeranol is introduced to human breast tissue, cells grow at an abnormal pace and cancerous enzymes are produced, even when amounts are used at rates 30 times lower than current FDA standards. The use of zeranol has also been linked to precocious puberty in young girls, which further heightens their risk of developing breast cancer later in life.

This blatant disregard for consumers’ health is simply unacceptable. It is the duties of the FDA and USDA to protect citizens against destructive practices such as this. I urge you to join the European Union and other countries in banning the use of growth-promoting chemicals like Zeranol in cattle. Doing so could help eliminate an environmental cause of cancer in humans and benefit the health of your fellow citizens for years to come.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Maggie Smith via

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  1. Better to stay away from meat unless it is organically produced. These hormones are dangerous and the effects are not completely known.

  2. Happy to be a vegetarian!!!


  4. Become Vegetarian or vegan to stop cruelty to animals. Anything is given to defenceless animals.

  5. Its NOT a growth hormone, I use growth hormone and other steroids off and on, but thats a choice.
    its a PhytoESTROGEN!!
    that should be made clear as it only makes the site look bad
    ” Zeranol (α-zearalanol) is a non-steroidal estrogen agonist. It is a mycotoxin, derived from fungi in the Fusarium family, and may be found as a contaminant in fungus-infected crops. It is 3-4x more potent as an estrogen agonist than the related compound zearalenone.[1]

    Zeranol is approved for use as a growth promoter in livestock, including beef cattle, in the United States. In Canada, it is approved for use in beef cattle only.[2] Its application is not approved for use in the European Union.

    Recently the group of Bern and collaborator has shown the inhibiting action of isoflavones on the growth of breast cancer cells induced by xenoestrogens such as o,p’-DDT and alkylphenols. Such studies have suggested phytoestrogens could be inhibiting the hormonal action of the natural estrogens.[3]

    Obese individuals may be at greater risk of developing zeranol-induced breast cancer.[citation needed]”

    I do agree it should not be in the food though.

    I don’t eat meat or fish so it is not like its going in me but i worry about the other people (family for one) and the young girls and boys still developing.
    Its just wrong!

  6. SUE GRIFFITHS says:

    If you and your family want to be safe, just pack in eating all meat. Why risk your children’s health when there is no need?

  7. evelyn rees says:

    It´s amazing, when it comes to hormons that are consumed by men also, the whole world freaks out if they cause cancer. But nobody ever would start a petition about all the cancer-causing hormons prescripted to women all over the world.
    Has the life of men more value than the life of women. It´s seems like.
    Anyway people should stop eating meat. The farm animals live in horrible conditions and the environment suffers a lot from the meat industry. If you have any feeling left or animals, you don´t eat them.

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