Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Antibiotics in Animal Feed

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It is really amazing how many health threatening practices are still being allowed by the FDA, despite the fact that the well being of millions of Americans are being threatened. For example, antibiotics in animal feed continues in the United States with up to 70% of all antibiotics being given to healthy livestock that is mixed in the animal feed. Such practices pose immense danger to human health.

According to New York State Representative Louise Slaughter, in the Wall Street Journal article, "Antibiotics in Livestock Feed Raises Concerns,"  "the large scale feeding of antibiotics to livestock speeds up antibiotic resistance in bacteria that can threaten human health."  This view is supported by Gail Hansen, a farming specialist with the Pew Charitable Trusts' Health Group. In the same article Ms. Hansen states that there are some animals that will eat too much, others just the right amount and the really sick ones probably very little. This causes an uneven distribution of antibiotics in the animals. So, what happens when people consume the meat of animals who have over-consumed the antibiotic laced feed?  Or, when people consume the meat of the animals who are sick that received too little of the antibiotic? Will these people get sick too? We can only assume the worst.

The use of antibiotics in feed is a common practice to encourage growth and sadly to cover up unsanitary conditions where the animals are being raised and slaughtered.

FDA  reports

Last year, the FDA reported that livestock grown in the US consumed about 28.6 million pounds of antibiotics. 74% was fed to the animals.  The rest was either administered through water or injected into the animals.

Antibiotic overuse results in bacterial resistance in humans who consume such meat.  This means that when antibiotics are really needed in cases of life threatening infections in humans, treatment is less effective due to this routine distribution of antibiotics in animal feed. This practice results in super bacteria such as MRSA, an antibacterial resistant staph infection.

What should you do?

Read the labels on all packages of meat before buying them.  Look for things such as "Antibiotic Free" or "No growth hormones."  Finally, buy only certified-organic meats and poultry.


Sources:

Tomson, Bill, "Antibiotics in Livestock Feed Raises Concerns" Wall Street Journal






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