In recent years, antibiotic use among food animals has skyrocketed from an already outrageously high number to begin with. Various farmers give them to animals in order to prevent any illnesses and ensure that they grow in size so they can yield more meat per animal. Although it is a smart business move to maximize profit and cut cost, antibiotics have no place in food.
Food-borne illnesses have become increasingly common throughout the United States and has claimed the lives of some unlucky ones. The number of people infected was estimated by the US Center For Disease Control to be two million each year. The reason for a big chunk of this is the growth of resistant bacteria that is created from abuse of antibiotics. These bacteria end up becoming extremely hard to treat. A majority of the sales within the last few years have ended up in the hands of farmers who feed them to the animals that end up in supermarkets. It has come to the attention of The White House that antibiotic resistant bacteria is one of the biggest health concerns in the nation.
The White House released a very vague policy outlining its efforts to fight against antibiotic use in animals. At first, it seems like the policy is targeted to halt the use of it, but it is really encouraging the purchases of food where it was used responsibly. It is calling for the use of less antibiotics – to be used only for the purposes of treating disease instead of encouraging growth in an animal. The FDA will take stricter steps in monitoring the activity of meat production. Instead of farmers being able to acquire over-the-counter antibiotics to give to their animals, the acquisition will be under the strict supervision of a veterinarian. The vet will also do follow-up examinations ensuring proper use of the prescriptions. The policy is expected to take full effect in five years.
Several private companies have agreed to take part in a more responsible practice of using antibiotics. A list was released consisting of over 150 businesses who are committing to these practices. Foster Farms believes that antibiotics have no place in food. They are the leaders in organic all-natural chicken and are planning on introducing two lines of the white meat which were not treated with any antibiotics. The fast food giant, McDonalds, has made the list, as well as Tyson, who plans to completely eliminate the use by 2017.
There is concern that there may be loopholes in the policy that people can take advantage of. The attorney of Natural Resources Defense Council stated that “to truly eliminate the routine use of antibiotics in animals that are not sick… The federal policy should halt all routine use of antibiotics, not just one category of routine use.”
Going all natural has been the hottest thing in the wellness world. With the rise of health problems, it has been highly encouraged for people to choose healthier options in their diet. Antibiotics have no place in food for human consumption and the new White House policy may be a step in the right direction to get rid of all use.
By Frank Grados
White House – FACT SHEET: Over 150 Animal and Health Stakeholders Join White House Effort to Combat Antibiotic Resistance
Natural Resources Defense Council – White House Announces New Federal Purchasing Policy for Meat
International Business – White House Pledges To Cut Antibiotics In Meat Served In Federal Cafeterias
The Daily Meal – FDA: 70 Percent of Antibiotics Sold in US are Used in Livestock, and That Number Continues to Rise
Photo Courtesy of river seal’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License