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Hormone Injected Chicken-Myth or Fact?

How many of us consume chicken meat almost daily, perhaps I am one of them? To be true, poultry meat recorded highest per capital consumption in Malaysia, with 50.7kg/year estimated for year 2019.


Meanwhile, public ponder if chicken is raised with hormone injected. Patients with cancer may take it more seriously, for example do they have to restrict chicken intake, does the hormone affect the effectiveness of cancer treatment, does that mean they have fewer choices of meat to eat.


Know More on Hormone

Hormone is naturally secreted by human and animal, for normal body function, and metabolism. However, there are synthetic hormone too. It has two chemical forms, steroid hormone and protein hormone. Steroid hormone resists digestion and remain active, which can be taken orally. While protein hormone is broken down after ingested, must be injected.

So, do chickens injected with hormone? It is actually a myth.



Why Does Poultry Not Injected with Hormone Nowadays?

Considering factors like production cost, improvement in science and technology, as well as legislation implement.

The first point is high labor cost needed to inject hormone in chicken. Hormone, for example, growth hormone, is a protein hormone, which must be injected to be effective, so it is not mixed in feed. Can you imagine injecting few thousand chickens by man in that poultry farm? Daily!

Study showed that commercial chicken breed from 1957 and 2001 were fed with poultry diet in 1957 and 2001 respectively, and their growth rate were compared. Chicken from 2001 growth four times faster than in 1957, but slower growth rate with 1957 diet. This indicated that modern commercial chicken breed, together with nutritious diet feed, average market age of chicken has been reduced by more than half to around 47 day.


Last but not least, the use of hormone in poultry is prohibited by laws. European Union had banned the use of growth hormone in poultry (but not cattle) in year 1981.


From these reasons, hormone injection in poultry is no longer needed. Enjoy your meal with chicken meat, yet always remember moderation is the best.




Written by:

Tan Bee Kuan, Food Scientist




Esquivel-Hernandez et al.(2016). Making things clear: Science-based reasons that chickens are not fed growth hormones. Trends in Food Science & Technology, (51),106-110.doi: 10.1016/j.tifs.2016.01.013


Federation of Livestock Farmers’ Association of Malaysia. (n.d.) Frequently Asked Question (FAQ).

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Official Portal Department of Veterinary Services. 2019. Malaysia Perangkaan Ternakan.

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Tabler et al. (2013). Chickens do not receive growth hormone: So why all the confusion? Extension Service of Missisippi State University.

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