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Email: Don't Eat Chicken Wings!

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Netlore Archive: According to this viral message, a woman developed a cyst after eating chicken wings that had been injected with steroids to accelerate animal growth.

Description: Email rumor / Viral text
Circulating since: May 2004
Status: False (see details below)

Example:
Email text contributed by Isabelle E., May 26, 2004:

Don't eat chicken wings - Ladies especially!

This is a true story! I am very concerned about the health of the people out there especially the women!

A friend of mine recently had a growth in her womb and she underwent an operation to remove the cyst. The cyst removed was filled with a dark coloured blood.

She thought that she would be recovered after the surgery but she was terribly wrong. A relapse occurred just a few months later. Distressed, she rushed down to her gynecologist for a consultation. During her consultation, her doctor asked her a question that puzzled her. He ask if she was a frequent consumer of chicken wings and she replied yes wondering as to how, he knew of her eating habits.

You see, the truth is in this modern day and age, chickens are injected with steroids to accelerate their growth so that the needs of this society can be met. This need is none other then the need for food. Chickens that are injected with steroids are usually given the shot at the neck or the wings. Therefore, it is in this places that the highest concentration of steroids exist.

These steroids have terrifying effects on the body as it accelerates growth. It has an even more dangerous effect in the presence of female hormones, this leads to women being more prone to the growth of a cyst in the womb.

Therefore, I advise the people out there to watch their diets and to lower their frequency of consuming chicken wings! People who receive this email, please forward it to your friends and loved ones. I am sure no one wants to see him or her suffer!


Analysis: False. The use of growth-enhancing hormones (including steroids) in poultry has been illegal in the U.S., Canada, and Europe for decades. Though the practice apparently still exists in other parts of the world, this type of substance would be administered to poultry via feed additives, not injections. Therefore, even if a detectable hormonal residue persisted in the flesh of chickens raised this way, it would not likely be concentrated in particular body parts such as the neck or wings.

In the United States, certain "steroid hormonal growth-promoting drugs" are approved for use in beef cattle, a practice deemed safe by the FDA and USDA, though not without controversy. "Studies done so far do not provide evidence to state that hormone residues in meat or dairy products cause any human health effects," states a Cornell University fact sheet. "However, a conclusion on lack of human health effect can only be made after large-scale studies compare the health of people who eat meat or dairy products from hormone-treated animals, to people who eat a similar diet, but from untreated animals."

A WHO-sponsored study conducted in Egypt determined that poultry raised by farmers using growth-enhancing hormones contained an elevated level of estradiol (estrogen), noting that a number of scientific studies have shown a correlation between the prolonged use of oral contraceptive steroids with the appearance of a particular form of cancer in women. The study concluded that "anabolic agents in beef and chicken entail a special risk to public health."


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Sources and further reading:

The Use of Steroid Hormones for Growth Promotion in Food-Producing Animals
FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine, July 2002

Hormones in Food: Consumer Concerns
Cornell University fact sheet, June 2000

Survey of Hormonal Levels in Meat and Poultry Sold in Alexandria, Egypt
Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal, Volume 4, Issue 2, 1998


Last updated: 11/03/05


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