Sunday, October 11, 2009

Antibiotic Use In Farming Contributes To Food Borne Illness

Outbreaks of food borne illness are on the rise and most associated with the increase in contamination by bacteria making it's way into the food supply in greater occurrence and severity. This is a direct result of the dysfunctional food system in need of a major overhaul.

Livestock and poultry farmers use antibiotics to facilitate growth as well as to prevent and fight infections in the animals. An added side effect from the administration of synthetic hormones is that the resulting increase in infections and disease results in livestock farmers using increased levels of antibiotics to try to overcome the infections. This leaves a greater residue in the animal which subsequently can make its way down the food chain to you. These practices also don't kill all the bacteria thus exacerbating the development of drug resistant bacteria. This subsequently undermines the effectiveness of drugs used to combat infections in humans whereby putting people at higher risk of illness and death. To make things worse, many factory farms administer antibiotics as a function of their protocol using them on livestock even though they don’t have an infection.

Here are the simple facts:

1.) There is widespread use of human-use antibiotics in livestock production.
2.) Much of that use is routine and prolonged “subtherapeutic” dosing of animals with antibiotics such as penicillin and tetracycline to speed animal growth.
3.) That use causes food borne bacteria and other bacteria to become resistant to the same drugs used to treat bacterial infections in humans.

This situation has become so serious that even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged the FDA not to approve fluoroquinolones for treating flocks of poultry, but the FDA caved in to drug-industry pressure. As a result the predicted problem has occurred: Campylobacter, which causes food poisoning, is becoming resistant to fluoroquinolones. That will make it harder to treat those illnesses. Salmonella and E-coli contaminations are on the rise while treatment of these infections becomes more difficult. In fact the CDC- Center for Disease Control states that these infections caused problems in treating illnesses with increased rates of illness and death.

Things can be changed. Richard Young, a policy adviser for the Soil Association stated “We estimate that a move to less intensive, more health-oriented livestock farming, could reduce farm antibiotic use by up to 75%. This would help to safeguard the future effectiveness of critically important drugs, and over the coming years, save countless human lives". The University of Vermont has shown that natural pasture raising of dairy cows actually can reduce farm expenses increase revenues and increase production value of dairy cows. These are a few practices that would eliminate much of the need for antibiotic as well as hormone treatment practices making the food supply and environment much safer. How can you go wrong employing methodology that is safer, more financial lucrative, heals the environment, improves health of people and reduces risk of disease?

If you care to get involved, voice your concerns to the FDA commissioner: mailto:CVMHomeP@cvm.fda.gov Main Tel: (301) 827-2410

Ref:
Center For Disease Control
Drug Resistant Staph Germ's Toll Higher Than Thought
Center For Science In The Public Interest
Fluoroquinolone Use in Food Animals
Soil Association

Image: Fotosearch

12 comments:

Sorcerer said...

very informative blog!

kate said...

yet another reason to eat local and eat organic...if you can afford it. Hormones and antibiotics in food started making me nervous over a decade ago, sad that it's just now starting to hit the news.

Kate M said...

Paul McCartney once said that if slaughterhouses had glass walls, we'd all be vegetarians. Our meat is so neatly cut, packaged and presented in the supermarket, that it's a far cry from what actually goes into producing that meat. Most of us don't have a clue.
I've noticed that I've started getting nauseous from eating meat lately. That's definitely a hint that I should quit eating meat altogether. I don't want to support factory farming practices either by buying their meat.

uptoeleven said...

I have a new blog on stopping smoking and acupuncture - would you be interested in a blogroll link exchange? I want to link to blogs giving people more healthy living tips, mine is only about the acupuncture... Daniel info@smokingacupuncture.net

TC said...

Thanks everyone for taking the time to leave a comment. I hope you find the information useful. Spread the word.

bullstone said...

I have been fighting to have millions of pounds of contaminated meat recalled that was produced using a warehouse facility that makes the PBA facility look like the Ritz. The pictures I gave to the USDA and the FDA showed RAT fecal matter and rodents nests on food ingredients and materials, I submitted documents to the USDA proving the use of this contaminated warehouse for years and was denied a recall of my own products .Why –to protect a State institution that was contracted to produce this meat for my company.
Agencies state the manufacturer must generate the recall and the FDA and USDA not having the authority to initiate this action as the reason bad food gets into the system .This is not so ,I am proof of this statement not being accurate. Even when the USDA went and found this contaminated warehouse with live rodents they never tested any product for salmonella and co-operated with the state of Florida to use possible contaminated ingredients in further meat processing.
I applaud your very fine story and comments and appeal to you to visit my blog site http://bullstone-larrym.blogspot.com/ and see the evidence of rat fecal contamination in meats produced by an instrument of the State of Florida department of Corrections. I have been battling with the USDA to issue a recall on the millions of pounds of meat the State of Florida produced under contract for my company. This meat was distributed nation wide to schools, supermarkets and institutions. When we discovered that this Florida State division was storing food supplies and edible ingredients in a rat infested warehouse we began our quest to get this information to the public and get accountability placed on those who allowed this to happen. When you read the information on my blog you will see the validity of both our stories .I support your efforts and request your support of mine. Regards Larry Stone

bullstone said...

I have been fighting to have millions of pounds of contaminated meat recalled that was produced using a warehouse facility that makes the PBA facility look like the Ritz. The pictures I gave to the USDA and the FDA showed RAT fecal matter and rodents nests on food ingredients and materials, I submitted documents to the USDA proving the use of this contaminated warehouse for years and was denied a recall of my own products .Why –to protect a State institution that was contracted to produce this meat for my company.
Agencies state the manufacturer must generate the recall and the FDA and USDA not having the authority to initiate this action as the reason bad food gets into the system .This is not so ,I am proof of this statement not being accurate. Even when the USDA went and found this contaminated warehouse with live rodents they never tested any product for salmonella and co-operated with the state of Florida to use possible contaminated ingredients in further meat processing.
I applaud your very fine story and comments and appeal to you to visit my blog site http://bullstone-larrym.blogspot.com/ and see the evidence of rat fecal contamination in meats produced by an instrument of the State of Florida department of Corrections. I have been battling with the USDA to issue a recall on the millions of pounds of meat the State of Florida produced under contract for my company. This meat was distributed nation wide to schools, supermarkets and institutions. When we discovered that this Florida State division was storing food supplies and edible ingredients in a rat infested warehouse we began our quest to get this information to the public and get accountability placed on those who allowed this to happen. When you read the information on my blog you will see the validity of both our stories .I support your efforts and request your support of mine. Regards Larry Stone

Brian, the old man said...

Excellent information! If only there was a way to guarantee the food source when shopping. I know I like to go to the farmer's market to buy produce from local smaller farmers and from a small store which only carries items from a couple of small local farms. I believe the small farmer cares more for his crops and animals which to me means a healthier option. Would you agree?

BK said...

It seems we not only need to watch what we eat nowadays, but we also need to know how our food is being produced. The more we learn about the food industry, the greater the nightmare shopping in the supermarket. If more people are aware of how their food is being produced, will they choose otherwise? I certainly believe they will. Over here in Singapore, I remember in my younger days, one can hardly hear of organic food but right now we have one specific session just for organic food. I see this as a good sign.

Being and Quirkiness said...

This is indeed very informative. Thanks for summarizing the situation. I'm not sure meat is that good for you, even without all this stuff - but I haven't compltely abandonned it.

TC said...

@bullstone. Thanks for stopping by and sharing that. I have checked out your site and appreciate the work your doing for such a good cause.

TC said...

@Brian @ BK and @ Being - the more we share information the better informed we become and wiser choices we can make. Thanks for taking the time to read and share.