Antibiotics in meat: how bad IS it??
A lot of commercial farmers give their livestock antibiotics to keep them healthy despite conditions being less than what mother earth had planned for them to live in. Those cute little piggies, chicks, and cows are usually born healthy, but need antibiotics to keep healthy in environments of overcrowding, lack of grass, and small quarters so the antibiotics help to promote growth and weight gain. I, obviously, love all creatures big and small, BUT there is no way that I can live a vegetarian lifestyle....as much as I care how creatures are treated, I like to eat them too! I know, a little hypocritical...sorry! A scary little fact is that, approximately 70% of all antibiotics in America are sold to be given to farm animals, and this practice is completely unregulated on either a local or national level. The FDA made a statement that using antibiotics strictly for growth in animals is wrong, but they only have voluntary call for farmers to stop the use of the antibiotics.
So, how does this affect the consumers of these products? Well, for one, it can help to create the "super bugs" that everyone is afraid of (i.e. bacteria that are resistant to bacteria because they are over exposed). The animals can retain these super bug infections, and they can be spread through consumption; some strains found in humans have been linked back to cattle and poultry. It can also trigger antibiotic reactions in people who are highly allergic, as they are trace amounts in the meat of the animals that we eat. And, it can increase our resistance. When all of our antibiotics stop working, our society is in for a whole lot of trouble!
What can you do?
1) Buy from local farmers, or go to butchers where they can tell you where the meat came from, and if it is steroid and antibiotic free (which usually means that it is grass fed as well and humanely treated). If I am in a major food store chain, I will buy Bison meat, as it is not yet an over produced meat and it is stated on the label as antibiotic/hormone free, and grass fed. I must admit that Bell & Evans chicken you can buy at some major food chains (I usually get it at the butcher but did find it in one Stop & Shop) is also hormone/antibiotic free and grass fed. When they are grass fed, it usually means that they are treated humanely, which makes me feel better; they are living their lives grazing and eating what they were intended to.
2) Contact the FDA and let them know your thoughts on this topic: http://actionnetwork.org/campaign/FDA_VFD
They created this site for people to submit their thoughts/ideas related to their stance on the use of antibiotics for animal growth. Maybe if we all use our voices, we can make a difference and make this governmentally regulated!!!
I also suggest that you see "Food, Inc." to see various sides of the food industry. It is, for sure, more expensive to purchase meat that is antibiotic/hormone free and grass fed BUT after watching that movie, you will not be able to eat anything else. It is NOT for the faint of heart!
So, give it some thought and help prevent the spread of these "super bugs" and the use of antibiotics with animals, and please write to the FDA and lets help regulate the use of antibiotics in meat!
Yours in Good Health