Thursday, February 26, 2009

Is Your Meat on Steroids? Probably.

It's kind of funny and ironic that in this tiny article in the New York Times, we are kind of making fun of Britain for not having (up until now) a good way to test cows a la A Rod for "illegal steroids" when what's in the parentheses is the MOST INTERESTING part of the entire article, i.e., that steroids have been banned in European meat for 20 years, while we seem to find them very tasty.

Simpler, Cheaper Test for Illegal Steroids in European Cattle

Baseball isn’t alone in having a steroid problem. The European beef industry has one, too — anabolic steroids have been outlawed there for two decades, yet they are still used to promote growth in cattle. (Steroids are not illegal in the United States and are used extensively by beef producers.)

In Europe, mandatory testing for steroid use in cattle is performed on a tiny fraction of animals because it is costly and complicated, generally involving mass spectrometry and gas chromatogaphy to detect the steroids and their metabolites.