Why I No Longer Take Certain Standard Process Supplements

(Updated on 3/7/14 form the original article written on 4/14/12)

Standard Process has been a respected Wisconsin based supplement company for over 70 years.

They promote their products as Whole Food supplements and advertise that this is a far healthier option than synthetic supplements commonly sold today.

And of course, I would agree.

They have their own organic farm on the premises, and thus, these organic ingredients are used in their products.

I have to admit that this all sounds pretty awesome!

I mean, who would be against organic whole food supplements? I sure am not. In fact, I personally take many of their products, and have also referred many of my patients to their products as well.

That is Until… (Isn’t it sad that there’s always an “until”?)

Well, everything I have written so far about Standard Process is true, but this is only half the story. It’s the “other half of the story” that… well…instantly stopped me from taking many of their products.

 

The Sad Truth about the “Other Half of the Story”

Many of Standard Process supplements are not solely vegetarian, but contain animal products. Now for some this may be an issue in and of itself, but for me however, this was not the reason I instantly stopped taking some of their products.

After being so sick ~ten years ago (How I took Control of My Life and Health!), I have since been keenly aware of what I put into my body, and go out of my way (and spend the extra money) to ensure I eat only organic chemical-free whole foods—and this includes meat.

Although I am strongly against conventional farming practices, I do support organically raised animal products.

It is vitally important to me that, for example, the animal was never injected with growth hormones, steroids, or antibiotics. It is also as important that the animal was able to graze on clean, non-pesticide ridden grass, and allowed to live humanely.

The differences between conventional raised animals and organically raised animals are immense. The bottom line: if you eat anything raised conventionally, you are eating extremely unhealthy and toxic animals!

And guess what?

If you take a Standard Process supplement that contains animal products, that is exactly what you are getting! 

Organ tissues hold the highest quantity of antibiotics, hormones, steroids, as well as, any pesticides they may have ingested from their food. And now we even have to worry about GMO feed. If the animal dies sickly (as most of them do on conventionally raised farms), you are also subjected to whatever contamination that their organs carry—especially the liver, liver fat, and glandular tissues.

 

So what does Standard Process have to say about this?

Standard Process admits that they do not use organic animal tissues;

“At this time, there are not enough organic, grass-fed beef animals to supply the amount of glandular tissues used in the Standard Process products. We purchase animal tissues and glands that are inspected by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and state departments of agriculture.”

Update: Since this article was written in April, 2012, Standard Process removed all information relating to their use of animal tissues. Interestingly, they now make no mention as to why they choose to not use organic animal tissues in their products. The following is the extent of their new animal tissue information:

“Selected animal tissues used to make our Protomorphogen™ and Cytosol™ extracts are ground to create a liquid slurry. The slurry is subjected to our proprietary multistep separation methods. Animal tissues are obtained exclusively from USDA-certified facilities.”

 

USDA certified facilities? Along with all the chemicals and drugs that are FDA approved?

Well, we who highly value the importance of quality organic, and chemical/drug-free  foods are not comfortable knowing that our health, and safety, are in the hands of such non-trustworthy groups! Not when there are organic options!

For Standard Process to not use the organic option is very disappointing.

And for two reasons:

  1. Organically raised, grass fed beef animals have become more popular these days than ever before. Standard Process utilizes mainly organ, glandular tissues, (bovine liver, liver fat, glandulars, etc) which in most cases are not used or bought by those who buy the standard muscle meat cuts. In other words, why not purchase the organ meats from organic farms instead of the product simply being wasted?
  2. For Standard Process to promote organic whole food supplements, all the while using conventional organ meats is disappointing to say the least. How can they strongly promote the use of healthy whole food supplements AND be on the side of the USDA and the FDA? Isn’t that an oxymoron?

 

Standard Process Trusts the FDA. Should They?

Okay, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe I am wrong, but let’s just say for the sake of argument:

Since Standard Process obviously trusts the standards and safety of the FDA and USDA regarding animal products, let’s just see how trustworthy they really are.

Per the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website, they acknowledge the use of steroids for growth promotion, not just naturally-occurring hormones, but synthetic hormones as well.

“Unlike naturally-occurring steroid hormones, there is no natural production of the synthetic compounds… These compounds are not metabolized as quickly as the naturally-occurring steroid hormones

…Furthermore, FDA required that the manufacturers demonstrate that the amount of hormone left in each edible tissue after treatment is below the appropriate safe level.”

 

The use of antibiotics have been controversial for many years now. As more and more bacteria resistant strains are becoming more widespread, many have blamed the overuse of antibiotics used on livestock as one of the primary causes.

Not long ago, the FDA announced a campaign to encourage cattle farmers to use fewer antibiotics on their livestock. However, don’t be fooled here. The key word is “encourage”.

Per a statement updated on 4/11/2012, the FDA shows their true colors by attempting to placate to the “welfare of human safety” by stating the following:

“Upon issuance of the final version of guidance #213, FDA intends to monitor the progress of its strategy for the voluntary adoption of the changes outlined, including the progress of measures intended to facilitate an orderly and minimally disruptive transition. After 3 years, FDA intends to evaluate the rate of voluntary adoption of the proposed changes across affected products. The agency will consider further action as warranted in accordance with existing provisions of the FD&C Act for addressing matters related to the safety of approved new animal drugs.

 

More key words to note: “Voluntary” & “matters related to the safety of approved new animal drugs”.

Sadly, it doesn’t stop here. The Following article is a must read regarding the safety concerns of conventionally raised cattle.  USDA & FDA Approved Beef Still Banned in Other Countries

 

The Bottom Line

It is true that Standard Process offers high quality whole food & ORGANIC supplements, but only if they are vegetable-based. The sad truth is, they also allow conventional FDA and USDA “inspected” animal products that are not rich with nutritional value, but with:

  • Antibiotics
  • Hormones (Natural & Synthetic)
  • Steroids
  • Not grass fed, but fed pesticide-ridden corn and other grains not natural to the cow’s diet
  • Heavy metals
  • …and who knows what else! How about ractopamine?

(Interesting article in National Geographic Organic Beef Vs. Conventional Beef)

The choice is yours of course; I simply search for the truth.

Personally, as I have already stated in the beginning of this article, I still do recommend (and take) some of the vegetarian products offered by Standard Process, but until their animal enriched products are upgraded from the use of FDA inspected conventional meat products to organically raised… I definitely pass!

There is a company that I do trust however. They are the New Zealand based Herbal Healer . From there website:

PURITY OF SOURCE FOR GLANDULARS

The New Zealand glandular source meets the United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organization standards of organic. To meet these standards beef must be fed no bone meal and 100% organic feed. New Zealand beef are fed on pesticide free pastures and can never be given hormones or antibiotics. To keep its livestock pure, New Zealand has never allowed any importation of livestock or use of meat and bone meal feed for decades. These products are Mad Cow disease free and, when imported, come with a BSE free certification from the New Zealand Minister of Agriculture. The animals that are used in these supplements are treated humanely and are range fed. These are the best and safest glandulars on the market today.”

I found that many of their glandular  products are very similar to those of Standard Process, with one major difference – these are from organically raised cattle rather than from conventional chemically-ridden USA raised cattle. Which would you prefer?

 

Special Commentary:

I realize that this topic, and this company, are close to many hearts. And it should be. We are talking about holistic health. Many in the holistic community condemn the FDA and pharmaceutical drugs, the chemicals and drugs found in tap water, etc, and praise anyone who argues against the FDA and medical profession.

If this were a pharmaceutical company promoting an organic whole product, the holistic community would go berserk if they found out that same company was also using drug-ridden conventionally raised meat in their products. So let’s be ethical  here and not simply look the other way, but demand more from companies we love so much such as Standard Process? They do promote organic vegetable-based, whole food supplements and that is wonderful…but when it comes to their products that contains animal tissues…

They could do better….much better.

 

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