Are You Eating Tainted Meat?

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH; Justin Lam, ABAAHP, FMNM

Bottle of unknown substance with needle inserted in front of tainted meatIt’s a scary world out there. Danger lurks where you’d least expect it. What you once thought was safe to eat often is not. Americans are being told to exert extreme caution with their foods as studies are showing that contaminated and tainted meat is filling our grocery stores. The foods we consume have a huge impact on our wellness. If we are eating tainted meat, our health is being affected, especially if we are already ill.

Pork Tainted with Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria and Banned Hormones

The findings are conclusive; recent studies have shown that samples of pork contained unreasonable amounts of toxic, antibiotic-resistant bacteria and the growth hormone ractopamine. Consumer reports are indicating that Americans need to be cautious when choosing pork products including ham and bacon.

Many tainted meat samples tested positive for a bacterium called Yersinia enterocolitica and salmonella which are known to cause diarrhea, stomach pain, and fever. Not only are the bacteria harmful, but they have also become “superbugs,” drug-resistant bacteria that don’t respond to normal antibiotics. The antibiotic-resistant bacteria found in these samples most likely developed due to the common farming practice of giving pigs low dose antibiotics to increase the pigs’ growth and to ward off infections from poor and unhygienic conditions.

When animals such as pigs are given low doses of antibiotics, they not only kill the targeted bacteria including, E. coli, Campylobacter, and salmonella, they kill all the good bacteria as well, which often helps fight infection. In addition, the bacteria strong enough to survive the antibiotics have less competition for resources, and antibiotic-resistant mutations are more likely to survive, prosper, and transfer their genes to future bacterium. Studies at Boston University have concluded that even low doses of antibiotics can cause enough stress on bacteria that they increase their rates of mutations and become resistant to drugs.

The Dangers of Growth Hormones

Petri dish of bacteria from tainted meat being held by scientist handWhen researchers tested 240 pork samples, a total of 20% had low levels of the drug ractopamine. Ractopamine is a drug used to promote the growth of pigs. Ractopamine has been banned in many places such as the European Union, China, Taiwan, and 80 other countries because of its toxicity.

One concern is that, by manipulating growth hormones in cows, pigs, and other animals, humans have offset other natural hormones such as insulin-like growth factor (IGF). In turn, when eaten these hormones could cause harm and mimic the effects of human growth hormones, contributing to breast and prostate cancers, early puberty in girls and other health problems. In fact, patients in a 2004 study with above-average IGF levels were found to have a 50% higher risk for prostate cancer and 65% higher risk of hormone-dependent breast cancer than those with below-average levels.

How to Avoid Tainted Meat

There is a strong connection between what we eat and how we feel. Our health depends on the quality of the foods we consume. It is important to avoid toxic foods to avoid the multitude of health problems they create.
Fortunately, there are ways to avoid eating tainted meat and other toxic food products.

  • Choose organic foods whenever possible to prevent pesticides and other toxins from entering your body.
  • Shop at grocery stores that make an effort to supply foods that come from humane farms and ranches.
  • Allow plenty of time for shopping so that you can read the labels of the foods you are purchasing.
  • Cook all meats thoroughly to kill off any bacteria that may be present.
  • Eat more plant-based proteins such as nuts and legumes to avoid the dangers of eating tainted meat.

Cooking tainted meat until it reaches 150 degrees (F) will destroy all bacteria, but many toxins will remain, making it unsafe to eat.

The Importance of Eating Organic

The food safety experts have stated that no drug should ever be routinely used in order to promote the growth of animals. However, there are currently no laws enforcing this for our safety, so we must take matters into our own hands.

chicken laid out on cutting board that could possibly be tainted meatTo avoid tainted meats, look for the “certified organic” symbols on the packaging. This assures consumers that the product is of high quality and backed with the integrity of farmers producing toxin-free foods. Operators of such farms are inspected annually and must comply with regulations and standards set by the United States Department of Agriculture.

Studies have shown that organic foods also have higher nutritional value. Researchers at the University of California recently found that organic tomatoes have higher levels of phytochemicals and vitamin C than conventional tomatoes.

Clearing Out Toxins

It’s never too late to change your diet for a healthier lifestyle. Although we cannot escape to a safe haven free from toxins and tainted meats, we can work to detoxify our bodies before the damage gets worse.

Our bodies naturally detoxify with an internal self-cleansing mechanism – the detoxification circuit. However, our bodies are so overloaded by the polluted air we breathe, chlorinated water we drink, and artificial fabrics we wear, that many of us need some extra help.

Detoxes have been used to help prevent chronic allergies, adrenal fatigue, and arthritis.

Some signs that a detoxification is needed include:

  • Unexplained headaches or back pain
  • Joint pain or arthritis
  • Weight gain
  • Memory problems
  • Depression
  • Lack of energy
  • Brittle hair and nails
  • Abnormal body odor, bad breath, or coated tongue
  • Psoriasis
  • Severe allergies
  • A history of drug or alcohol use
  • Exposure to cleaning solvents, diuretics, and pesticides

If one or more of the items on this list describes you, consider talking to a nutritionist or your health care practitioner about beginning a detox program that is safe for you.

Tainted Meat, Adrenal Fatigue, and Chronic Illness

Adrenal fatigue, like many other chronic illnesses, affects various bodily systems and organs as it progresses through its stages. The likelihood of becoming ill from tainted meat is even greater for those who suffer from illnesses such as Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS) as their bodies already have weakened systems and less energy to mount a repair effort. Eating pork or meat that contains bacteria with an illness such as this can worsen the side effects of food poisoning. What would normally cause diarrhea and or vomiting in healthy individuals, could be debilitating or even fatal for those who have AFS. It is very important that people with chronic illnesses maintain the healthiest lifestyles possible and exercise caution with the meats that they eat.

Multiple pigs that could be tainted meatThe toxins found in tainted meat such as growth hormones and pesticides may not cause immediate signs or symptoms of illnesses, but over time, the accumulation of toxins will poison the body, and increasing the load on an already overburdened system and making symptoms worse. Illnesses may progress at faster rates, and fatigue may be severe enough to make sufferers bedridden. Systems throughout the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response, which describes how your organs work together to respond to stress, will begin to develop dysfunctions, throwing everything from hormones to digestion and cognitive skills out of balance.

In addition, toxins from tainted meat can lead to serious inflammation. Inflammation starts the second the body begins to defend itself against toxins and pathogens that enter it. This inflammation is a natural and biological response to heal the body and keep itself healthy. When toxins such as tainted meat enter the body, the body’s natural response is to get them out. Inflammation plays an extremely important role in the repair system as it allows the body to fight against what may cause it harm.

However, when inflammation goes unchecked, problems arise. If it is not controlled, chronic inflammation will set in, causing a waterfall of other symptoms to deal with. This inflammation can be even worse for someone with chronic adrenal fatigue or other illnesses.


This is why it is vital to take steps to avoid tainted meat and other toxins in your diet. Cooking your food well, trying to source organic and responsibly farmed foods, and eating more plant-based proteins are good steps. In addition, if you suspect the toxins in tainted meat are already causing damage in your body, talk to your doctor about doing a detox to help your body get a fresh start.

Switching to an organic, toxin-free diet is beneficial for everyone, especially those who are suffering from chronic illnesses such as Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome. However, prior to beginning any new diet or detox program, particularly if you have a chronic illness, it is important to consult with your health care practitioner to ensure your dietary plans have enough nutrients and support what your body needs.

© Copyright 2013 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

Dr. Lam’s Key Question

Cooking tainted meat until it reaches 150 degrees (F) will destroy all bacteria, but the toxins from growth hormones, pesticides, and herbicides will still remain making it unsafe to eat. It is best to always choose organic for your meats and other foods.

Tainted meat